As a species, human beings are beginning to wake up to the importance of insects to our planet and our ecosystem. And most importantly, people are gradually leaning that bees, in particular, are vital to the human race and our world. But why are bee populations decreasing?
Reports of bees dying off are becoming more and more frequent, and a lot more alarming in recent years. Bees are an important part of global food production, so for them to die out would be a huge problem. This is why pest control experts like Catch-it in East London, when carrying out stinging insect pest control, will typically just relocate bees’ nests, and not exterminate them.
Distribution maps of bees are showing major decrease in the range of bees covering the planet, and in some places they are completely extinct. There are more and more reports of widespread die-offs, with honeybee hives being abandoned after colony-collapse disorder. But why are the bees dying, and what will the consequences be?
A diet without any bee related, insect-pollinated food would be short on a lot of nutrients, and make life pretty boring. And there are some reasons for why this may become an issue in the future.
Worldwide, there is less land available to support the bees. Farmland is being stripped of everything but the crops that will make the cash, so there is no flowery food for bees. In many developed countries there’s just nowhere left for bees to go.
Another problem is that honeybee diseases are spreading. Hives are being shipped all over the world, and stowaway bacteria, fungi and parasites go with them. These diseases lead to colony-collapse disorder.
Intensive farming using fungicides herbicides and pesticides has also affected the bees. At certain doses, particular pesticides can be incredibly harmful to honeybees, even causing death.
A combination of all of these problems are causing a worldwide loss of bees. More and more studies are being done so that we can save the honeybee from going completely extinct. A lot of what is to blame will remain a mystery, but if we can change some of the problems then the honeybee can be saved.
The Effects Of Pesticides On Bees Worldwide
A particular pesticide group called neonicotinoid (NNI) has made its way onto crops worldwide. Whilst these pesticides protect the crops, and are most commonly used on rape seed, the impact of them may be affecting the bees. Pest control should be for pests, and bees are far from it.
When these chemicals are applied to crops, they are absorbed into the plant, making everything including the pollen and nectar poisonous to insects. However scientists have said the NNI have had a great environmental impact on plants and animals.
The loss of bees is potentially damaging to the agriculture because of the role they play in pollinating our plants. The chemical NNI was being used a lot in the 2000s, but the EU banned it from April 2013. Whilst Britain comply with this ruling, they don’t agree with the science behind the problem.
Concern has been mainly focused at the honeybee because their population has declined by around 25% in the last few years. Numerous studies have directly linked bee death to the use of NNI. Loss of habitat and changing land can also be attributed to the bee population decreasing.
Researchers claim that neonicotinoids interfere with a bee’s brain, which limits their ability to learn and remember what food they should be eating. The pesticide has been linked to a sort of bee epilepsy, and breeding activity has also been reduced.
Critics have claimed that a ban on the use of NNI would put crops at risk and harm the economy. Chemical firms think it is unnecessary, and they don’t want to lose out on profits.
In light of the government not being too keen on the ban of these bee-killing pesticides, who knows what legislation may come into play over the next few years. One thing is for sure, bees need to be protected and saved.