This assignment I am basing of, “Probing Question: What’s killing the honeybees?” by Lisa Duchene featured in Penn State News.
House of Cards vs. Spider Web
Will other means of pollination allow for crop production to be sustained if there are further losses to the honeybee population?
The honeybees may be the most influential step in the growing process. Farmers have always heavily relied on honeybees as a natural pollinator to pollinate all of the crops that feed families and communities. As honeybee numbers drop, other insects such as other species of bees, butterflies, and ants will continue to pollinate a certain percentage of crops grown and the increased amount of available food will increase the population of each of the species. (Fultz, 2009) The rapidness of this population growth and the full extent of crop amounts that can be covered is unknown. Butterflies and other replacement pollinating insects come with other complications that are not present with the use of bees. Butterflies’ offspring develop in stages away from a set colony. The caterpillar stage can be very harmful to crops. The caterpillar will eat large amounts of crops often in inconvenient places that harm the look of the crop which, as we covered in Module 6: Food and Agriculture, will hurt the sales of the crop.
Due to the profound impact already being felt, farmers are purchasing and renting hives of honey bees to be places near the areas they are growing to ensure pollination rates. This task is becoming more difficult due to the decreasing winter survival rates of hives. The shortage is leading to importing of hives. The hives have to be transported which leads to higher prices. The fact that farmers are paying more and more money for single hives means that there is little alternative to using bees for pollination. This could mean a lack of food produced if the honeybee population continues to diminish.
J, Fultz. (2009). Pollinating Insects. Indiana State University. Retrieve on Apr. 15, 2016. From http://www2.isu.edu/~fultjess/Pollinators/