Tens of billions of bees have gone missing, according to a new report from the Apiary Inspectors of America, a national group that tracks beekeeping, and no one seems to know why.
More than a quarter of the country's 2.4 million bee colonies have been lost, as worker bees fail to return to their hives after setting out on their morning commutes, says an article in the New York Times. Scientists are so far at a loss, but theories have ranged from genetically modified crops to cell phone signals to terrorist plots.
While the loss of some bugs may seem a minor problem, honeybees are arguably one of the most important insects for food production, the article says, since they're the principal pollinators of hundreds of types of fruits, vegetables, flowers and nuts.
Blog community response:
"Whether Einstein said it or not, it doesn't take an Einstein (you knew I was going there) to figure that with no bees, no pollination. No pollination, no plants. No plants, no food for animals. No food for animals, and the future doesn't look so bright. We'll be required to subsist on a diet of Sunny Delite and Velveeta, if we're lucky. If I"m wrong and these edibles are actually food, 'could be the human race is run.' And we didn't even need nuclear war!"
"I don't have much to add here except, seriously, it is time to panic. That, and that this type of event reminds us all that we live in an ecosytem that is interconnected. We can go on killing everything around us and destroying our environment, but some day, it is going to bite us back."
"This. Is. A. Very. Big. Deal. We are looking at major problems for fruit, nut, and vegetable production if this continues. (Not to mention hardship for the many families that make a living as beekeepers.)"
--Bug Girl's Blog