The beekeeping industry is a very critical sector in US economy. Apart from generating income to both farmers and state, bees are directly involved in crop pollination. Consequently, the problem of declining bee population should not be taken lightly because it has great impacts on economy and livelihood of many farmers. The US Department of Agriculture cites the bee breeding practices as one of the factors responsible for diminishing population of bees. The breeders have depended on a small number of queen mother bees that do not produce saleable queens with desirable traits. To this end, USD has recommended research, development of selection protocol and characterization of additional population of Old World bees. The importance of these recommendations can be understood better by first exploring the issues that have been highlighted by the USDA report. According to USDA, US beekeepers have made substantial losses since the introduction of honey bee mites also known as Varroa destructor in 1980s. To mitigate the impacts of the mites, the farmers have relied on queen production. However, the process of queen breeding has not done enough to incorporate genetic characteristics that are resistant to diseases and mites. As a result, the bee keepers have continued to register the losses associated with the dwindling bee population. The problem is further complicated by the fact that the mite is gradually developing resistance to the applied chemicals. USDA contends that there are indeed bees with inherent genetic ability to tolerate mites and other contagious diseases. However, there is very little effort made in queen breeding to use the genetics in controlling diseases and parasites because of lack of selection protocol. Instead, the beekeepers rely on antibiotics and miticides to control parasites and diseases. This is not to say that there is no such effort to incorporate genetics in queen production. The truth is that there are few public and private institutions that developed selection protocols based on apicultural importance and traits. Although the programs have limited impacts compared to overall queen production, they provide germplasm reserve for productive, pest resistant and disease resistant bees. The losses in bee sector demands for new methods of queen bee breeding. According to USDA, the priority should be given to the selection and breeding of honey bees that are resistant to both mites and diseases. The department states that the strategy is efficient and effective way of dealing with pathogens that are responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder CCD. In its own view, the virus that causes CCD is very much present among the bees that are imported into US. Consequently, CCD traits should be considered in the development of selection protocol. The department estimates that US has nine out of twenty six recognized and imported bee subspecies. The report acknowledges that the US recognizes the problem and has authorized the importation of European origin from Australia contain the situation. According to USDA, the importation of honey bees’ germplasm for breeding and selection would solve key problems affecting the beekeeping sector. It would provide a good number of subspecies for breeding purposes, improve mite resistance and recover Caucasian subspecies of bees. Moreover, the importation of original pollinator subspecies would increase pollination efficiency and results into high crop yield. Finally, the importation would improve the availability of genetic markers linked to resistance. These characteristics are available in bees found in Old World. In the face of the issues highlighted above, USDA proposed three recommendations. The first recommendation is that the US beekeeping industry must embrace research. The research should aim at screening honey bees used in breeding programs to identify health characteristic. The screening could be done through identification of genes that influence these traits and measurement of heritable traits. Other characteristics that should be screened include resistance to pathogen such as CCD and genetic diversity. The second recommendation is that the industry should come up with a selection protocol for in bee breeding. The protocol ought to maximize preservation of diversity while increasing disease resistance characteristics. Third, the department recommends the selection of bees with highly desirable characteristics from the old world to assure sustainability in bee keeping industry. In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that USDA’s recommendations have come at the right time when bee keeping industry is facing significant threat from diseases and parasites. Therefore, they have to be implemented immediately to curb further decline in the bee population. The recommendations promise great results because they are based on scientific concepts and principles.
Usdas Recommendations On Declining Bee Population In US Essays Example
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