Beekepers in Western countries have been reporting slow declines of stocks due to impaired protein production, changes in agricultural practice, or unpredictable weather. On 2007, an abnormally high die-offs (30–70% of hives) of European honey bee colonies occurred in North America which was later called as the “colony collapse disorder”
This lead the team of Researchers at Monsanto to develop alternative strategies to bridge the gap of an eventual honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted the researchers at Montesano a $3 million dollar research fund to be able to develop a modified way to save the world’s food supply.
The team of researchers led by John Leere, a biochemist developed a genetically modified ant that has a striking similar feature with the common honey bee with 50 times stronger immunity to certain types of pesticides.
Through genetic manipulations, we could eventually create a hybrid species that would have both the common honey bee’s pollinating characteristics, as well as possess the pesticide immunization properties of certain ant species, a perfect match that would take thousands of years to develop on its own in nature”he explains.
According to a recent Greenpeace study, seventy out of the top 100 human food crops, which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, are pollinated by bees. US National Agriculture Statistics show a honey bee decline from about 3.2 million hives in 1947 to 2.4 million hives in 2008, a 90% reduction.