Wild Tracks

On behalf of the world's wild species

Bee Ice Cream

Don’t squash that bee!

Without the humble honey bee, about one in every three bites of the food we eat would disappear. They pollinate about 90 different food crops such as apples, almonds, squash and blueberries, producing the foods we love to eat.

Ice cream helper

Ice cream helper

Both the scientific and popular press are paying increasing attention to the state of the world’s honey bees.

Huge die-offs are being reported all over the world in what has been called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Millions of bees have left their hives and vanished without a trace. In some US states, up to 90% have disappeared. Nobody knows why. In Taiwan, 10 million honey bees were reported to have disappeared in just two weeks. In Britain, one in five honey bee colonies perished in the winter of 2006/2007. A survey by Apiary Inspectors of America last year found that 36% of the nation’s commercially managed hives were lost in 2008.

The cause of CCD is still being sought. Pesticides or viruses may have weakened the honey bees so they can no longer resist parasites. Unusual weather conditions, global warming and habitat loss have also been touted as possible culprits. It has been suggested a foreign virus may have been contracted from introduced bees brought in from abroad. Or it could be a combination of all of the above.

While it is scary to think about the food we owe to honey bee pollination, an even greater calamity has now come to light. Loss of the honey bees would effect – gasp – ICE CREAM.

It seems Häagen-Dazs depends on bee pollination for more than 40% of its flavors. With no bees there would be no natural flavors. With no natural flavors there could be no Häagen-Dazs.

This socially responsible company has jumped on the cause of the honey bees. They set up a website dedicated to CCD information, announced a $250,000 CCD research grant to Penn State, and established a fellowship in honey bee biology at the University of California, Davis.

So don’t squash that bee. Even if you don’t like insects, imagine a world without naturally flavored ice cream. Let him fly away, and head for the freezer instead.

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