Wild Bees Threatened By Biofuels!!!

Wild Bees are in trouble according to the this article. They trot out the usual blame (climate change) but then get to the real culprit.

Pesticides, climate change, and diseases threaten wild bees—but the new study also shows that their decline may be caused by the conversion of bee habitat into cropland. In eleven key states where the new study shows bees in decline, the amount of land tilled to grow corn spiked by two hundred percent in five years—replacing grasslands and pastures that once supported bee populations. “These results reinforce recent evidence that increased demand for corn in biofuel production has intensified threats to natural habitats in corn-growing regions,” the new study notes.

Ethanol increased tilling of marginal land for corn because of the ethanol subsidies.

This was the first-ever attempt to simultaneously map the trends in wild bee abundance based on recent land conversion and the demand for pollination of different crops across the nation.

Researchers from University of Vermont conducted the first national study for mapping wild bees and found that wild bees are disappearing rapidly from US major farmlands including California’s Central Valley, which is known for its almond production, the Midwest’s corn belt, and the Mississippi River valley. If the trend continues, it will cost farmers heavily and may ruin crop production in US.

Study suggests that more than $3 billion of US agricultural economy depends upon pollinators like wild bees for the reproduction of their crops and around 39% US crop regions rely on these native pollinators and spend millions of dollars annually to rent beehives.

But researchers have found there is a mismatch between the rising demand for pollination and availability of wild bees. They estimate that wild bee population has declined 23% from 2008 to 2013.