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.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Researcher explains bee decline

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Feb 3, 2016 9:00 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, January 19, 2016:

The decline of the nation's bee population was a great mystery for a long time -- so much so that a presidential order was issued in June of 2014 to investigate the state of bees.

It's important because much of our food supply depends on the pollination of bees.  

We've heard that honey bees are in danger, and it turns out they aren't alone. In recent years, wild bees, another type of pollinating bee, have also faced a plight of population decline.

A study, co-published by a Franklin and Marshall professor, maps the decline of wild bee populations. The study, which is the largest of its kind, tracked the status, trend and impact of wild bees across the United States. How large was the population loss, and what could it mean for the future of the food supply chain, honeybees and human life?

Dr. Eric Lonsdorf, co-publisher of the wild bee study and Franklin and Marshall professor of ecology and Clair Kauffman, Orchard Manager at Kauffman's Fruit Farm & Market in Lancaster appear on Wednesday's Smart Talk to discuss why wild bees are important, why they're disappearing and how farmers and homeowners can help combat the population decline and destruction of wild bee habitats.

Dr. Eric Lonsdorf 600x340 2.jpg

Dr. Eric Lonsdorf

Published in News, Smart Talk

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-02-03 09:38

    Rodger in York County emails:

    Are Dr. Lonsford's findings available to the public? If so where. Penn State's Master Gardeners, for example, are doing a Pollinator Preferences statewide citizen science study that is being administrated by York Master Gardeners. They, as well, as members of the general public are interested in findings such as Dr. Lonsford.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-02-03 09:40

    Jim emails:

    We live in a condo with a deck where we have some flowers and herbs, but very little land. What can we do to promote bees in our situation. Thanks!!

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-02-03 09:40

    Flora in Lewisburg emails (Flora is a PA Dept of Agriculture Integrated Pest Management Board Member):

    Why are Bayer products with imidocloprids allowed on our crops and residential landscapes, since a direct link has been shown to harm bees---especially with their recommended doses to flowering trees, based on caliper. A harmful link was openly demonstrated 7 years ago in the Penn State report.

    In addition, I read an in-house report (now hidden) from Bayer in 2008, that clearly demonstrated their knowledge of bee impacts and their response was, in part, to move to expand this product into the pet flea, tick treatment market... also imidoclprid doses, also Bayer.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-02-03 09:40

    Michael emails:

    Just an fyi.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-02-03 09:42

    Jessica emails:

    Could you please ask your guest comment on the 2009 documentary "The Vanishing of the Bees" by Maryan Henein and narrated by Ellen Page? The main take away I took from that documentary was that wild bees were dying because of insecticides being infused into the genome of corn and other vegetables so that when the bees went to pollinate those plants they were actually being poisoned? Is this something your guests have studied?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-02-03 09:44

    John emails:

    Can your guest talk about changes in bee genetics, due to chemicals in the environment? I've read the bee DNA has become messed up…

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-02-03 09:53

    Connie emails: (Connie is a Consumer Horticulture Educator at the Penn State Extension in York County)

    Penn State Master Gardeners have done a study of pollinator attracting plants and have a wonderful list of the best plants. You can access the lists soon either at the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research website or the Penn State Southeast Research and Extension Center website.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-02-03 09:57

    Laura in Lancaster emails:

    When you drive west across the country you see miles of corn fields, and other huge fields of one crop....all planted right to the verge with no "wasted" land.

    There is a very old story, from China, I think, about a farmer who thought to plant right up to the edge of his property in order to not 'waste' his land. Other farmers followed suit, thinking they would make more money. What they discovered was that there was no cover for birds (and bees) in the verges and the farmers had very much more insect damage, less pollination.

    The lesson is that by leaving the weeds in the verges there was room for birds who ate the insects and thus made more money for the farmers.

    Does the huge agri-business never learn from the past? There are so many things wrong with agri-business: lack of diversity, overuse of insecticides and herbicides; loss of small farms; the use of corn for fuel (which really doesn't give better gas mileage)....that we should really think about what is happening and learn from it.

  • Peter Tocco img 2016-02-03 20:44

    There was a caller who mentioned a bee class coming up. The host asked her to post a comment with the event information. I do not see it yet.

    Can any body please tell me when and where that class is?

    • Robert House img 2016-02-03 21:29

      The beekeeping class information is located at this web page and you can download a registration form at this site as well.

  • Robert House img 2016-02-03 21:25

    To learn more about bees and Beekeeping, we invite you to attend the Beekeeping 101 class to be held at the Farm Show Bldg in Harrisburg on March 4 (7 PM - 9 PM).

    You can download a registration form at

    OR contact Linda Klutas at 500 Stony Creek Road, Dauphin, PA 17018 (717) 921-8660

  • Rodger img 2016-02-04 08:50

    A caller asked what effect climate change is having on bees. Here is a link to the news release, "Study Reveals Alarming Effects of Climate Change on Bumble Bees."

    Other topics for Smart Talk are the new threat to snakes in the Eastern U.S. due to a fungus (not here in Pa. but in surrounding states) and the ecosystem service provided by bats (insect consumption) that has been loss due to their decline. Also, an earlier report in Science quantified that down to the county area in Pa.

  • Patte img 2016-02-04 12:02

    It has bothered me for years that taxpayers pay to have all the grass and weeds mowed along the highways. After listening to your broadcast I realized a lot of these roads are near farmland here in central pa (Cumberland county). We could save taxpayers money and provide more wild bee habitat by not mowing all this grass! If they need to mow along the roadway - that's fine, but leave the rest of the weeds and grasses grow for the bees.