Date of Award

11-11-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Environmental Science and University Honors

Department

Environmental Science

First Advisor

Megan Horst

Subjects

Colony collapse disorder of honeybees -- United States -- Prevention, Honeybee -- Diseases, Bees -- Effect of pesticides on, Organic farming -- Environmental aspects

DOI

10.15760/honors.663

Abstract

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.

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