Bees are producing less honey

The application of herbicides and changes in land use explain this. Bees are producing less honey each year. Records from the last five decades of data from across the United States were reviewed. Researchers at Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences conducted the analysis.

Climate anomalies and lack of land conservation programs decrease yields. The results are published in Environmental Research. States in warm and cold regions produced higher honey yields when they had productive soils. Ecoregional soil and climate conditions establish the basic levels of honey production. The use of herbicides harms results.

Bees are producing less honey each year.
Bees are producing less honey each year.

Soil factors

“It is unclear how climate change will continue to affect honey production. But our findings can help predict these changes,” explains Gabriela Quinlan in a statement. She is lead author of the study. One of the main factors is the lack of flowers that provide enough pollen and nectar for feeding. Different regions can support different flowering plants depending on climate and soil characteristics. That is why there is a growing interest in identifying regions and landscapes with enough flowers. They would be friendlier to bees.

For Quinlan, one of the most interesting findings was the importance of soil productivity. It is an underexplored factor when analyzing how suitable different landscapes are for pollinators. Many studies have examined the importance of nutrients in soil. But it does not delve into issues such as temperature, texture and soil structure.

There are numerous factors that affect this production.
There are numerous factors that affect this production.

Saving the bees

Decreases in land dedicated to soybean production and increases in Conservation Reserve Program land had positive effects on honey production.

Bees are producing less honey, but there is hope. Herbicide application rates were also important in predicting honey production. Removing flowering weeds can reduce the nutritional sources available to bees.

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