NPR’s Lou Blouin reports on the use of honey bees in the United States and alternatives in the article, Don’t Worry, Honey, The Other Bees Have Your Back. Blouin writes that at Penn State University, researchers study the effects of pesticides on honey bees. One researcher, Maryann Frazier, explains how bees have evolved from a species into what she calls, “technology—that we literally pack in boxes, load onto semitrailers and ship all over the country to do work for us.” Honey bees are shipped from different regions of the United States to pollinate different crops throughout the year, a business model that appears to be wearing honey bees out. “A combination of diseases, stress, parasites, pesticides and colony collapse disorder—a mysterious phenomenon that scientists still don’t understand—has taken its toll of honeybees.” This has led to an increased focus on other types of bees. One, an osmia bee, called a Japanese orchard bee, has shown to be much more productive the honey bees. Researcher, Dave Biddinger, reports that an osmia bee can do the work of roughly 80 honeybees. This new research may potentially save farmers tens of thousands of dollars by using additional bee species, or a “community of bees”.
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