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Angiosperm Life Cycle

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Trouble In The Land of Honey

Trouble In The Land of Honey

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) sealing up honeycomb after converting nectar to honey.

Oh, That's Not Good

Yummm, honey! Do you love honey? Many people can't get enough of that wonderful golden sugary goodness. Even if people don't like that bees sting, they like that they make honey. Honey has been a choice food for many organisms for a long time, but recent changes have people concerned. Bee colonies are disappearing all over North America, and the reasons aren't too clear. Yep, another complicated real world problem with no easy answer. Of course, that doesn't mean information isn't coming in about the factors involved in this bee disappearance, which is now called "Colony Collapse Disorder."

No Duh's and Head Scratchers

If you need help scratching a mental itch, use the resources below:

  1. Describe the pathway by which researchers think pesticides are affecting bee colonies. What effect does exposure to pesticides have on the bees?
  2. What is the dose effect of this pesticide on bumblebee colonies? Does this relationship surprise you? Why or why not? What does this suggest about the general effect of toxic substances on populations?
  3. Why are people concerned about the loss of bee colonies beyond the supply of honey as human food? How is this an example of a cascading effect? Does it surprise you how far cascading effects can reach? Why or why not?
  4. If pesticides are causing problems for bees, should we just get rid of pesticides? Consider the pros and cons of this approach in your answer and explain your thinking fully.
  5. Historical reports indicate previous widespread bee colony losses before the widespread use of pesticides. Does this surprise you? How does this affect your view of the role of pesticides in the current losses of bee colonies? Explain your thinking as fully as possible.

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