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Disappearing Honey Bees

Date: 03-16-07
Host: George Noory
Guests: Linda Moulton Howe, Open Lines

During the first two hours of the program, investigative reporter and author Linda Moulton Howe gave an update on the disappearing honey bees and what may be the cause.

Linda said massive disappearances of honey bees have been reported in 25 states over the past six months. One beekeeper she spoke to said he has lost 96% of the 13,000 healthy, full hives he once had. So far, experts still do not know what's causing the honey bee die-offs. Entomologist Dr. Diana Cox-Foster analyzed some honey bees from a deserted hive and found twice the usual amount of pathogens in them, Linda reported. This could imply that their immune systems have been seriously damaged by something in the environment, Linda suggested, leaving the honey bees more susceptible to disease.

According to her report, the rise of genetically modified crops and resulting herbicide-resistant weeds has led farmers to use increasing amounts of poison to deal with the problem. This accumulation of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides in the environment could be what's to blame for the declining population of honey bees. The dramatic loss of honey bees and other pollinators across North America may also impact U.S. food production and force American dependence on other countries for food, Linda concluded.

The last half of the show featured Open Lines, with a special line for callers who wanted to share their 'crazy stories'.

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