Honey Bee Population and the Effects
Ms. Natrin HWL P8
Honey Bee Population and the Effects
Bee population is decreasing due to several factors that all affect both nature and human kind This poses a concern for modern society as we depend on bees to pollinate largely all of our crops. Scientists are as well concerned as they have various of reasons as to why bees are dwindling; focusing on a multitude of reasons instead of one. Scientists need to find the sole reason of the bee conflict and petition countries to help stop those actions. Society should follow in the scientist’s path, by doing everything in our power— to save the bees from extinction.
A Yale article written by Elizabeth Grossman, gives the gist of the bee obstacle. In Grossman et al.’s (2013) article she states “For much of the past 10 years, beekeepers, primarily in the United States and Europe, have been reporting annual hive losses of 30 percent or higher, But this winter, many U.S. beekeepers experienced losses of 40 to 50 percent or more.”. Half of hives experiencing loses is frightening as we depend on bees heavily. Grossman et al. (2013) also states “No one investigating the issue is suggesting that neonicotinoids are the sole cause of current bee declines.”. There are many factors of the bee issue but neonicotinoids should not be ignored. Neonicotinoids are a type of widespread pesticide used in farming that harms bees, the true cause of 50% annual bee hive loss—as shown in the Yale article. Grossman et al.’s (2013) claims “(…) scientists and regulators have grown increasingly concerned about the impact of colony collapse disorder on the world’s food supply, given that the majority of the planet’s 100 most important food crops depend on insect pollination.”. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is as well a factor of why the bees are plummeting, alarming scientist to study CCD and how it is caused. The Yale article has shown statistics of the loss of honey bees, reasons for dwindling population, and the affects followed.
Moreover, a TIME magazine article written by Justin Worland, talks about statistics of the bee population decline. Worland et al.’s (2017) article claims “Population levels of more than 700 North American bee species are declining as habitat loss and pesticide use(…)”. 700 bee species are declining due to human interference and heavy pesticide use. Worland et al. (2017) also states “A 2015 report from a United Nations group found that populations are declining for 37% of bee species (…)”. Bees play a very important economic role as pollinating our agricultural crops, a huge business in North America. Worland et al. (2017) writes “In the United States, that value reaches billions of dollars annually, according to a 2015 White House report.”. Bees pollination is worth billions and modern world would not be the same— we would not have the same luxuries of our abundance of crops. TIME Magazine showed readers the overall problem of the bee population reducing and the consequences of the agricultural industry.
Furthermore, the National Pesticide Center and Dr. Ramesh Sagil wrote an informational piece on CCD. Sagil et al.’s (2017) article states “Beekeepers began reporting high colony losses where the adult honeybees simply disappeared from the hives, almost all at the same time.”. CCD is a disorder in which adult honey bees leave the hive, leaving only the queen and immature bees. Sagil et al. (2007) claims “However, colonies affected by CCD had more pathogens and more types of pathogens than colonies without CCD. Pathogens are disease-causing organisms”. Studies shown that colonies with CCD had more pathogens which may have factored into the situation. Sagil et al. (2017) stated in the article “In addition to CCD, parasites and pathogens, poor nutrition, pesticide exposure, lack of genetic diversity, and habitat loss can weaken or kill honeybee colonies.”. The more simple version of what truly or is plausible to how honey bee colonies could experience loss. The National Pesticide Center & Sagil provided a piece rich with information about CCD and the plausible reasons behind the declining of bee population.
Additionally, Inverse Science and Nick Lucchessi published an article on the three reasons bees are dying. Lucchessi et al.’s (2017) article claims “Enter the varroa mite, which started infesting honey bee colonies(…) in the last 30 years the viruses have become more virulent because of how they are transmitted between mites.”. Varroa mites carry a virus lethal to honey bees, causing the population of the colony to reduce. Lucchessi et al. (2017) states “Pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides pose another tricky challenge for bees and their keepers (…) Additionally, the effects of chemicals on bees are more subtle and take longer to show up.”. Another threat to bees is pesticides. Pesticides are harmful but take longer and subtlety to show up in bees; making it harder for beekeepers to realize. Lucchessi et al. (2017) claims “Honey bees collect pollen and nectar for the entire colony(…)When there are less natural sources, (…)the colonies as a whole become less healthy.”. Honey bees rely on pollen and nectar to feed colonies—but when their food becomes harder to encounter the whole colony suffers. The whole colony then becomes unhealthy and loss soon follows. Varroa mites, pesticides, and poor nutrition all factor into the reducing population of bees.
Lastly, IBT and the author, Roxanne Palmer, published an article on how to save the bees from extinction. Palmer et al.’s (2017) article states “Last April, the European Union voted to ban a certain class of pesticides called neonicotinoids (…) But in bees, neonicotinoid exposure is thought to have a wide range of negative effects,”. The negative effects of neonicotinoids outweigh the positives— bees that have encountered neonicotinoids lose the ability to navigate well and have higher chances of being struck by the varroa mite; continents and world leaders should realize and take the procedure of banning the pesticide. This could potentially help the bees from more losses. Palmer et al. (2017) claims “Bayer scientists and bee researchers from Frankfurt University have come up with a way to nip the varroa mite (…)When bees pass through this varroa gate through small entry holes, they brush up against a coating of poison”. This device could potentially save a multitude of bees lives, having a product that would get rid of the mite without harming the bee is ideal. Palmer et al. (2017) writes “States would have to push to plant flowering weeds and other native plants. If bee populations continue to decline, though, significant measures may be necessary to keep bees flying.” Not just states but countries need to push for more bee friendly plants to be planted. This would result in more healthy colonies that can flourish even more. The options of banning neonicotinoids, combating varroa mites, and nourishing more bees, could save the bees from extinction, so more people and leaders should stand up to helping the bees.
To conclude— bees are dying and there are many reasons as to why and there are many reasons on how to help. From climate, mites, pesticides, and CCD bees have many factors to the declining population of honey bees. Due to those factors everyone should do the best of their ability to help— from planting bee friendly plants or petitioning against neonicotinoids. Society needs bees to pollinate. Over billions of dollars depend on bee’s pollination and for that reason helping them is crucial for our food and various other reasons.
Grossman , E. (2013, April 30). Declining Bee Populations Pose a Threat to Global Agriculture. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from https://e360.yale.edu/features/declining_bee_populations_pose_a_threat_to_global_agriculture
Worland , J. (2017, March 2). Bee Populations Decline Due to Pesticides, Habitat Loss. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from http://time.com/4688417/north-american-bee-population-extinction/
Sagili , R. (2017, July 31). Bee Colony Collapse Disorder. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from http://npic.orst.edu/envir/ccd.html
N., Lucchessi . (2017, May 26). Three Reasons the Bees are Dying. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from https://www.inverse.com/article/32107-why-are-bees-dying
Palmer, R. (2014, January 22). How Can We Save Bees? 3 Possible Solutions To Combat Honeybee Decline. Retrieved January 15, 2018, from http://www.ibtimes.com/how-can-we-save-bees-3-possible-solutions-combat-honeybee-decline-1546190