Conservation, Environmental Hazards, Nature, Science

Honey Bee Colony Collapse

honeybee
Honeybee populations are massively declining.
Image: Shutterstock

There is a frightening phenomenon happening all around the world: honeybee populations have been in massive decline.  The answer as to why this is happening is a mix of factors from pesticides to drought, habitat destruction, nutritional deficit, air pollution and global warming.

The ecosystem is in trouble, and because animals and nature are linked, it perpetuates problems.  However, the biggest problem of all is humans.  The two most prominent causes appear to be pesticides and habitat loss.

“Biologists have found over 150 different chemical residues in bee pollen, a deadly ‘pesticide cocktail,’” said to University of California apiculturist Eric Mussen.

Chemical companies such as Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow, DuPont and Monsanto claim to have no idea what is happening to the bees.  They deny any wrongdoing and insist that their pesticides are perfectly safe.  They advocate no change in pesticide policy since they continue to profit.

pesticide spraying
Chemical companies claim pesticides are not harmful to bees.
Image: Shutterstock

To make matters worse, the wild bee habitat continues to shrink each year.  Agribusiness changes grasslands and forest into monoculture farms which are then contaminated with pesticides.

Several studies have identified potentially bee-toxic pesticides.  They are clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam.  A Greenpeace study found seven more bee killers that act on the nervous system. They accumulate in bees and in their colonies including pollen that is fed to infant larvae.

“This is no marginal species loss. Honey bees—wild and domestic—perform about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. Grains are primarily pollinated by the wind, but the best and healthiest food—fruits, nuts and vegetables—are pollinated by bees. Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops, which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, are pollinated by bees.”

Bee collapse is one of the most serious challenges humans have faced.  If all bees disappeared, it’s unlikely that humans would survive.

What is the solution?  The use of ecological, organic farming, preservation of wild habitat and restoration of ecological agriculture could help.  It would mean a return to the natural way of doing things.

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