Bees have been disappearing for almost a decade now. I think it’s like, more than 25% of all the honeybee population has been lost in the United States alone. They are losing bees in Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, France and other European nations, and there are several theories as to why this is happening. They think its things like Benton springs, pesticides, electromagnetic frequencies, Benton springs Columbia, mites and even GMO crops. They are slowly figuring it out but before getting into that, I think it’s important to understand why bees are so freaking important in the first place!
The bees travel from plant to plant, carrying male genes to the female plants to assist the process. This system is known as cross-pollination, and it helps at least 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of our wild plants to thrive. To sum up, if bees didn’t exist, neither would a large portion of the plants we need to survive. And yes, there are alternative methods to growing these crops, so the human race is not necessarily on the brink of collapsing. However, this seemingly small problem has consequences that grow exponentially. So although we humans may not die, we may also have a harder time living well.
In 2005 it was estimated that the total worth of global crops pollinated by honeybees was at least $200 billion. This is a huge economic issue for the farmers, venders, and consumers of agricultural products. But just what exactly are the implications? First, farmers who suddenly find themselves with a scarcity of bees for their crops have to rent bee colonies from other suppliers. The scarcity has already jacked up the price of the colonies, reportedly as much as 20%. Subsequently, farmers with higher fixed costs will have to account for this by increasing the prices of selling their crops to vendors, ultimately increasing the price for consumers. With food shortages already a huge problem in many countries, the loss of bees could be detrimental to the living conditions of people all around the world. Additionally, it is important to look at the issue from another perspective: consider what will happen to other species of animals that rely on those plants for survival. Without bees to spread flowers and plants, other animals could lose their main source of food and go extinct as well.
So why exactly are the bees going extinct? Scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a deathly concoction of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast and fed it to healthy bees, while a control group of bees was not fed the pollen. The test group experiences a “serious decline in their ability to resist a parasite that causes Colony Collapse Disorder.” An analysis of the composition of the pollen found that an average of nine different pesticides and fungicides, and one sample contained a toxic combination of 21 different chemicals.
The study concludes that fungicides play a larger role in CCD than was previously believed. Unfortunately, the issue is a difficult one to combat, as it is not just the types of chemicals that need regulation, but spraying practices as well. A particular issue, as outlined in the following article link below) seems to be the government’s reliance on the controversial corporation, Monsanto, to solve the problem through advanced biotechnology. Unfortunately, Monsanto is focusing on manipulating the genes of plants to tolerate stronger pesticides, and this will only worsen the issue of disappearing bee colonies.
The best solutions to the problem are the following: Better legislation for farmers on pesticide use, encouraging consumers to choose organic food thus spuring a demand for healthier farming methods, and finally higher investment in research for organizations such as Green Peace and Beeologics, a research firm that is currently testing bee health and finding ways to reduce the spread of disease through colonies.