In the past decade, bees have been dying off at a rate of 30 percent, but what’s the reason behind it?
The honey bee industry is not only significantly important to the economy, but to the environment. Without bees we would still have the staple nutrients, like oats, but fruits, flowers, and herbs would disappear, so the environment will take a hit.There has been a loss of about two million dollars in the industry because of the decrease in honey bees. The entire food chain is very dependent on bees because they help pollinate the base, what keeps everything stable. All bees are at risk, domesticated and wild, so now we have to be cautious of the mortality of bees.
Since the 1970s bees have been affected by climate change. The average temperature today is 1.5 degrees higher that what it was during the 1900s. The global warming has caused bees to lose more than 200 miles of historic wild range, and they continue to lose about five miles every year. Most animals have moved north to avoid the change in environment, strangely enough the bees are compressing south, leaving less and less habitat for them to reside in. There aren’t any scientifically proven reasons as to why they haven’t moved north, and scientist Jeremy Kerr believes that its because they need a “critical mass population that can be sustained in new places”.
Even with the queen bee laying about 1500 eggs a day, bees are dying at an alarming rate. Without the help of beekeepers, just about all natural colonies would have died out by now. 1989 was the peak for the bee population with 8.9 million colonies, but by 2008 the population dropped to 2.8 million, and is steadily decreasing with 2.7 million in 2016. Honey bees aren’t in an extreme threat of extinction though, they are endangered but they have potential to regain their population back. President Obama created a national strategy for improving the healthy and conditions for bees.
CCD is colony collapse disorder, it isn’t really the problem now but was 6 or 7 years ago, now it’s pesticides and heat. Pesticides used for commercial agriculture have lethal effects, they can kill the bees or make them more susceptible to invasive pesticides. The population is also taking a hit because there is a general decline of what goes into a bee’s diet. Here’s how you can do your part:
- Planting bee friendly plants (lilacs, sage, mint, tomatoes, sunflowers, oregano, poppies, honeysuckle)
- Not pulling all your weeds, wildflowers count as a large part of the wild bees natural diet
- Pesticides and weed killers may make your yard and garden look appealing but it’s doing the opposite for the biosphere
- Buy local honey
- Support local bees farms
- Leave some water out for thirsty bees
- Buy from local organic farmers
- Don’t kill the bees! They aren’t out to harm you
- If can and are willing, start a beehive
- If you find a bee laying help it out! Put some sugar water on a spoon and let the bee drink it, it will help revive it faster