Bees In Peril
The Progressive Farmer
America’s bees are in trouble. And that
spells big problems for crops that depend on insects for pollination.
Beekeepers and researchers blame the varroa
mite – nicknamed “vampire mite” because the
bloodsucking parasite attacks young and adult honeybees. The mites
nearly destroyed the wild honeybee population in the 1990s and
are now causing havoc to commercial bee colonies. Some say the
vampire mite – along with the small-hive beetle that causes
damage from larval feeding – may have reduced the bee population
as much as 50% over the past two decades.
But the hurt doesn’t stop with beekeepers.
Honeybees pollinate more than 90 commercial crops and are a major
carrier of pollen for seeded fruits, vegetable crops that grow
on vines and forages like alfalfa and clover. Even wild bees that
are resistant to the mites are losing numbers, thanks mostly to
habitat loss. Bees are responsible for 15 to 30% of the food we
eat in the U.S.
Now farmers are struggling to get bees for pollination.
California almond growers need about 1.4 million colonies of honeybees
to pollinate a half million acres of trees. By 2012, that number
is expected to swell to 2 million hives as harvest-ready trees
come into production.
In 2005, pollination demands nationwide outstripped
the domestic supply of honeybees. This forced U.S. farmers to
import honeybees for the first time since 1992.
Pesticides only provide limited control of the
mites and beetles. Plus, chemical controls are difficult to use
without harming the bee population. Researchers are looking at
biological controls that attack the mites but not the bees. They’re
also looking at genetic enhancements that may help breed bees
so they’re resistant to the parasites.
Submitted by Larry Spina
Applesauce – Honey
2 1/2 c. Bisquick
1 c. quick cooking oats
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 c. honey
1 c. applesauce
1 c. golden raisins
1 c. walnuts, chopped
Combine first 4 ingredients; make a well in center
of mixture. Combine egg, honey, and applesauce; add to dry ingredients,
stirring just until moistened. Stir in raisins and walnuts. Spoon
batter into two greased and floured 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/4 inch
loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until a
wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10
minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
IDALS Grant Awarded
to the IHPA
May 14, 2007
Iowa Honey Producers Association
65071 – 720th Street
Cumberland IA 50843
Dear Ms. Brahms,
Thank you for submitting a grant application
to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s
Specialty Crop Grant Program. After careful consideration by the
Grant Approval Committee, I am pleased to announce to you that
the Iowa Honey Producers Association’s grant application
has been approved in the amount of $4,000.
Enclosed with this letter is a Substitute W-9/Vendor
Update Form that should be completed and returned to the Accounting
Bureau in order to receive your check. If you have any questions
about this form, please contact Erinn Sprouse at (515) 281-8611.
In addition, the Grant Approval Committee is
requiring awardees to submit two reports to the Iowa Department
of Agriculture and Land Stewardship regarding the progress of
the awarded project: one at the six-month mark and a final report
at the completion of 12 months.
Congratulations and thank you for your contribution
to the agricultural community. We are eager to watch your project
evolve in the coming months.
Secretary of Agriculture
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship