Free lunch doesn’t exist unless you’re a bee. A new Agriculture Department initiative has proposed up to $ 3 million to improve honey bee feed stocks.
Of course, bees do make their living. Commercial bees alone pollinate about $ 15 billion worth of products annually, reveals Associated Press. This number does not take into account the economic impact of local bees, which also pollinate the plants.
Colony Destruction Disorder
But both local and imported honey bees were battling Colony Destruction Disorder, a mysterious disease that kills entire hives. Scientists believe that the collapse of the colony may in part be caused by a plant virus that has started infecting the bees. Scientists believe that several other deadly viruses and chemicals are also playing a role in this colony destruction.
To avoid losses, the USDA program has funded ranchers and farmers in Minnesota, Michigan, South, and North Dakota, and Wisconsin to re-seed their pastures with alfalfa, clover, and other flowering crops that bees like, said AP.
These pastures can also be used for grazing livestock, scientists believed. The agency hoped feeding the bees can help prevent disease, especially in an agricultural landscape dominated by corn, soybeans, and cotton rather than their favorite insect crops.