There has been a constant drop in the bee population around the world in recent years. This decline in these pollen collecting insects is due to a number of factors. Expansion of cities, reduction of food sources, insecticides, and disease are major factors in the loss of these essential little workers. Each of these elements affects the bees negatively, and is causing a dire situation that the human race should not ignore.
Loss Of Habitat
More and more of the natural fields, flowers, and trees are being cleared for development and expansion of cities and businesses. Without these flowers and trees to feed the bees, they will not inhabit the area, which in turn means that they are not pollenating the few gardens and plants that city dwellers do attempt to grow.
Not Enough Food
Urban areas and expanding cities are consuming the natural fields and flowers that bees rely on for pollen and nectar. Each bee needs to consume enough nectar for their sustenance as well as some to bring to the hive to be turned into honey by a hive attendant. Some beekeepers find it necessary to feed their bees artificially to keep the hive alive through the season. Many keepers use this artificial feeding to replace the honey that they are harvesting, or if the hive appears as if it will not have sufficient food for the winter, and the bees in the hive will perish.
The Greenpeace investigation on the use of insecticides and pesticides on crops and seeds found traces of the toxic ingredients such as the nicotine-based clothianidin, thiametoxam, clorpyriphos, deltamethrin, cypermethrin, fipronil, and imidacloprid. All of these substances are highly toxic to bees according to a report done by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Scientists have been tracking the activity and the disappearance of bees for over 40 years. This disappearing act has been constantly decreasing the bee populations since the winter storms of 2006. Scientists who are studying this issue call it a “Colony Collapse Disorder.” Researchers have no idea where the bees go to or why they leave the hive behind. There is no evidence of deceased bees left behind at the hive, and it seems as if the bees decided to pack up and move.
Efforts To Bring Back The Buzz
The United States Department of Agriculture operates 24 individual centers around the U.S., including the Lockeford Plant Materials Center in California, which is headed by Margaret Smither-Kopperl. These experts are mixing flowers and grasses in an attempt to find the perfect combination of food that bees just can not resist. Jessa Kay Cruz from The Xerces Society, a conservation group, says that, “Growth in agriculture industries and the growth of cities have left bees too few natural areas where they seek their food: Pollen and nectar.” She currently works with Margaret in a joint effort to find the answers to the question of where the bees have gone.
There is no doubt that bees play a key role in the survival of the plants, vegetables, and the existence of the human race. It is necessary to rid the fields of harmful chemicals, create healthy food access for the bees, and encourage the bees to do their job pollenating the plants we need to live. Bringing attention to this dire situation is necessary to ensure the future lives of the hard little workers in black and yellow, and the human race as well.