Honeybees: North Dakota Plan Could Curtail Colony Collapse Disorder

Honeybees are dying off rapidly due to the colony collapse order problem which began around 2005. The bees may get some much needed help courtesy of a North Dakota plan – the first such colony collapse disorder program in the nation. The western state has been among the leaders in honey production in the United States for decades. North Dakota is also credited with developing quality bee protection guidelines for keepers, ranchers, farmers, and average landowners.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture called for the development of a formal honeybee protection plan, and North Dakota was the first to answer. If the state’s program is a success, it would likely serve as a model for the rest of America to follow.

Colony collapse disorder plagued not only America, but the bulk of nations around the globe. The decline of the honeybee population has often been blamed on GMO crops and chemical pesticides manufactured by Monsanto and other biotech giants, by some scientists and food safety advocates, according to a report by Off The Grid News. Nearly 100 crops grown in the United States require assistance by wild pollinators in order to grow. Bee pollinated crops comprise about 30 percent of the food eaten in the United States, according to the USDA – but many agriculture experts put the figure at closer to 70 percent.

The goal of the voluntary North Dakota Pollinator Plan is to reduce risks faced by honeybees due to the usage of chemical pesticides and other agricultural production practices. North Dakota routinely boasts the production of approximately a half million hives per year – with the pollinators spending the winter in warmer climates.

Even though beekeepers around the world experienced significant bee colony losses last year, North Dakota still manager to produce more than 34 million pounds of honey – approximately 23 percent of the honey produced in the United States. The resting period in the Western state is reportedly integral to their winter survival.

North Dakota Agriculture Commission Doug Goehring had this to say about the Pollinator Plan:

“It is completely non-regulatory. It contains best-management practices and other proactive measures and ideas to help agricultural producers and beekeepers find common ground, all on a voluntary basis. The guidelines will be revisited and annually and updated as needed.”

The colony collapse disorder plan is based upon information stemming from extensive meetings with beekeepers, crop consultants, pesticide applicators, and growers. The pollinator plan calls for increased cooperation among pesticide applicators, beekeepers, and landowners in order to protect the ever decreasing honeybee population. If all the bees die, the best estimates by experts put the termination of the human and animal population will follow just a few years later.

An excerpt from the North Dakota Pollinator Plan:

“Beekeepers face a challenging task of keeping colonies alive with the threat of Colony Collapse Disorder, Varroa mites, Tracheal mites, small hive beetles, bacterial, fungal and viral diseases, declining quality forage, and pesticide exposure. Nationally, year to year colony survival is variable with some beekeepers reporting losses as high as 30 percent. Growers and pesticide users cannot help beekeepers manage threats from mites, beetles and the microbes that weaken their hives. They can, however, help with reducing their exposure to pesticides and improving the quality of forage available. Even though Varroa is considered the greatest threat to honey bee colonies, a strong colony can handle the pressures of this tiny creature better than one exposed to various pesticides and poor forage that weaken the hive. They [growers] must also consider timing of pesticide applications with respect to harvest and rotation intervals.”

Off grid living expert and beekeeper Rick Austin had this to say about the honeybee protection plan and Colony Collapse Disorder:

“Guidelines are all well and good, and perhaps it is a step in the right direction. At least it is bringing awareness to the problem. But the real problem is GMO corn and soybeans that are spreading poison pollen everywhere through the wind. The only way that the use of GMOs will stop, is to force companies like Monsanto to stop using it. However, regulations won’t happen because of Monsanto’s incestuous relationship with the government. And as we have seen time and time again, even if there were laws in place, Obama and his minions are only going to enforce the laws they like, and that don’t hurt their donors, anyway.”

Why do you think honeybees are dying off in record numbers?

[Image Via: Shutterstock.com]

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