Importance of Honey Bees for Sustaining Life on Earth
Bees are more than pesky insects that sting you.
Ok, so this could be a little exaggerated. However if all pollen-spreading insects ceased to exist we would have a huge problem. Many fruits and plants depend on bees or other insects for pollination. In fact 1/3 of the food we eat depends on bees. The following foods would disappear
- Strawberries (why we buy organic)
- Green Beans
Watch this video!
What is causing the bee population to decline?
Have you heard of colony collapse disorder?
Starting in the late 90’s Beekeepers around the world have observed the mysterious and sudden disappearance of bees. In the last ten years, over 40% of the bee colonies in the US have suffered Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
There are many arguments for the cause of the bees disappearances
- Increased usage of Nero-toxic Pesticides
- Loss of Biodiversity due to Mono-culture Farming Practices.
- Parasites/ Pathogens
- Climate Change
How Pesticides Affect Bees
Despite known harm to honey bees Neuro-toxic pesticides are heavily applied to US crops. Now, a few decades later we are discovering why the bee population has been mysteriously “disappearing” from their hives in the past years.
Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides designed to impair the central nervous system. Seeds are coated in these neonicotinoids which are absorbed into the plant. The original goal of the seeds was to kill aphids, beetles and other plant eating pests. An unintended consequence was the impact to bees and beneficial bugs. Studies show that the insecticides impact the bee’s brain, and internal navigation system. Even low levels were found to be harmful.
A honey bee forages daily for nectar or pollen. They spend the day outside the hive and head back to the hive when it gets dark. However if they’ve been exposed to these pesticides bees may become disoriented, get lost and die before they make it home. Some bees will make it home but become unable to function properly.
Neonicotinoids don’t just affect bees. All pollinators including butterflies and hummingbirds are impacted.
How do Bees Help Farmers?
The economic value of bees pollination work has been estimated around 265 billion annually, worldwide.
Honey bees or even wild bees are necessary to pollinate many crops. Nature provided bees to pollinate crops, without them plants can not produce. Beekeepers have lost a significant amount of their hives over the past years. The decline has become so bad that farmers pay for companies to truck bee’s in for pollination and then take them back home afterwards.
Seeds grown in the US continue to be coated in neonictonides. Europe has already put restrictions on the use of these dangerous pesticides based on strong evidence and ongoing research. Nature is complex, we should be working with it instead of against it.
Hidden Cost of the Dying Bee Population
In order to get out of this disaster, a global shift is needed. Instead of destructive agriculture practices, sustainable ecological farming is necessary along with a ban on ALL bee harming pesticides. Bees pollinate one third of our food supply and are essential to the ecosystem. A world without honey bees would be a sad world.
Wild bee decline threatens US crop production
EPA Confirms Activists’ Longtime Claims: Neonicotinoid Pesticide Threatens Honeybees
Shedding Light on Three Big Lies About Systemic Pesticides and Bees
Ultimate Health Podcast with Carley Stein – beekeepers naturals
New limits, but no all-out ban on pesticides that harm bee population