Protecting Foraging Habitat Important to Bee Populations

A paper published in Land Use Policy by a University of California, Berkeley, researcher and a USGS research ecologist warns that land use trends play an important role in bee population declines. They say that land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in the Prairie Pothole Region provided prime summer foraging habitat for colonies of honey bees that are trucked around the country in other seasons to pollinate crops. However, the number of acres enrolled in CRP in the region has shrunk by half since 2007, due to policies such as caps on the reserve program, government support for ethanol fuels, and changes to crop insurance programs in 2014. The lack of summer foraging habitat is contributing to declines in bee health and reducing profitability for beekeepers, say the authors.