CATCH THE BUZZ By Kim Flottum May 21, 2014
Statement of Jeff Pettis, Research Leader USDA - Agricultural Research Service
Testimony before the House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture - April 29, 2014
Chairman Scott, Ranking Member Schrader and members of the subcommittee, I am Dr. Jeff Pettis, Research Leader of the Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, a research laboratory dedicated to honey bee health and part of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. I am pleased to appear before you to discuss a serious threat to the honey bee and thus our food security in the United States.
Ultimately, if no long-term solutions are developed to slow bee decline, consumers will pay more for the food they buy. The foods that bees are responsible for pollinating tend to be the foods that add vital nutrients, flavor and diversity to our diet: the fruits, nuts and vegetables that maintain health. Bees pollinate more than 90 crops and are responsible for $15 billion in added crop value. Over half the nation’s bees are needed to pollinate almonds alone, a $3 billion crop with increasing acreage.
One of the biggest problems facing honey bees and beekeepers today is the varroa mite. The varroa mite’s full name is Varroa destructor, and it is...