Agriculture, Research

Crippled bee population might be saved by super breeding

The world bee population is at its greatest trial in years, as thousands of bee populations die off each year. Scientists are trying to salvage what’s left or even possibly enforce the current bees left by breeding a new pest resistant, cold impervious superbees.

Beekeepers around the world have reported on their lowest honey crops in decades, all because of the declining honeybee populations at the hands of insecticide-resistant mites and viruses. Now, instead of introducing a new kind of pesticide, scientists are trying to breed stronger bees capable of surviving and overcoming the threats they’re exposed to.

According to the U.N., viruses and mites are responsible for the killing of 85% of bees in the Middle East, 10% to 30% of bees in Europe, and nearly a third of American bees each year. If you don’t care too much about bees, maybe you should look a bit to your stomach and see what kind of say he has in this. Consider that over 70 of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food are pollinated by bees, $83 billion worth of crops money-wise, and billions of hungry mouths human-wise.

University of Manitoba in Winnipeg researchers tried to achieve this by inserting queen bees that exhibited the required properties across colonies in Canada. They then were subjected to what’s referred to as disease pressure, in which each generation of survivors is bred for the next season, the theory being that eventually a mite-resistant brand of bees will emerge.

What they got was more than they ever hoped for; not only were the bees resistant to pests and viruses, but also fit for surviving winters – only 46% of European honeybees normally survive the winter, but these mite-resistant bees have a 75% survival rate.

It’s trivial to believe, however, that breeding mite-resistant bees will be the end of the current bee, and overall food crisis. It’s well accounted that pollution, climate change and growing devastating pesticides are also responsible for the worldwide bee decimation.

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