Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Environmental Science and University Honors
Colony collapse disorder of honeybees -- United States -- Prevention, Honeybee -- Diseases -- United States, Bees -- Effect of pesticides on -- United States, Organic farming -- Environmental aspects -- United States
Farms depend heavily on bees to provide all or most of the pollination services for food production. Conventional agriculture poses multiple threats to these valuable organisms: habitat removal for large fields, the application of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and the use of commercially-shipped bee colonies which can contain disease. In recent history, colony collapse disorder (CCD) has arisen in both scientific and public domains as a widespread concern for the environment and the “pollinator crisis” emerged as a result. Organic agriculture was developed in part, to mitigate the negative impacts conventional farming on the environment by prohibiting synthetic chemicals and promoting natural habitat restoration. This literature review qualitatively assesses 33 articles published on conventional and organic agriculture and the impact on both managed and wild bee populations to address whether or not organic farming practices would stagnate or restore declining bee populations. Organic farming was found to significantly impact bee populations only in homogeneous landscapes. The potential of organic farming to halt or restore bee populations is highly limited and efforts to restore bee populations would be better directed at natural habitat restoration in landscape mosaics.
Bicknell, Jordan, "The Effects of Organic and Conventional Agriculture on Bee Populations in the United States" (2018). University Honors Theses. Paper 648.