Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Bee colony collapse; What does the Fed do?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jun 16, 2013 3:27 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Monday, June 17:

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When millions of honeybees began dying for no apparent reason almost a decade ago, many people reacted with a collective "so what!"  Beekeepers have lost a large percentage of their hives since then and those who know how important bees are to the food produced for human consumption now realize Colony Collapse Disorder is a major concern.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture says up to one-quarter the of the American diet relies on pollination from honeybees.

We still don't know what exactly causes CCD.  Speculation has centered on pesticides, viruses, or even small mites.  The bottom line is bees are still dying.

CCD will be the focus on a segment of Monday's Radio Smart Talk.  Appearing on the program will be Maryann Frazier, a Senior Extension Associate at Penn State University, who is an expert on bees and insects, and Jim Pinkerton, president of the Lancaster County Beekeepers Association.

Also, do you know what the Federal Reserve does?

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Most Americans don't, even though decisions made by the Fed have an impact on all of us.

Stephen Axilrod, who worked at the Fed for decades, has penned a new book, The Federal Reserve: What Everyone Needs to Know.  He'll answer your questions about the Fed on Monday's program.

Do you have questions about the Federal Reserve?

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-06-17 08:58

    Chris from Lititz asks

    What affect do these GMO crops have on bees?

    • Jim img 2013-06-21 01:20

      Chris, it is hard to say exactly what effect GMOs are having on the bees or us. It is not required to label foods with GMO crops in them. So you don't know when you are eating it, but with most corn, cotton and soy beans being GMO we are eating and wearing it every day. Does that make it safe? What about all the food allergies that have seemed to come up in the last few years??
      When bees die they try to die away from the hive, so the hive will not be further infected (so if they are not feeling well they will fly out away from the hive to die). This makes it very difficult to know what they died from. Beekeepers are left with empty hives or few dead bees and no answers. Testing of the few dead bees can be expensive and inconclusive as to what killed them.
      During the growing season, bees only live about 6 weeks so a hive must be constantly replacing naturally dying bees. Add pesticides, vast mono cultural fields with nothing but that one crop, leading to poor nutrition and the hives population begins to dwindle. By late fall the hive is not strong enough or have a good supply of pollen and honey stored to survive our winter, and another hive is lost.

  • sharon img 2013-06-17 09:50

    Very good interview with Maryann Frazier and Jim Pinkerton on Colony Collapse, but bees were yet again given short shrift in favor of money matters. This topic should have had the whole hour devoted to it.

  • Randy img 2013-06-17 19:13

    Look for the latest chemicals that have been introduced into the environment when colony collapse disorder was detected. What happens to bees will eventually occur in humans. "Silent Spring" by Rachael Carson was denigrated by chemical companies, until the evidence was too strong, plus the symbol of America was at stake. While bees aren't the American eagle, chemical companies continue to deny their role in environmental concerns. At one time, cigarette companies extolled the healthful qualities of cigarette smoking. Science has proven differently.

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