It is a common fear to be afraid of getting stung by a bee; typically described as a summer nuisance. However, these small hardworking insects are vital to our environment and are a critical factor in global agriculture.
Eighty percent of all insect pollination is accounted for by honeybees. Everything from apples to oranges to even pecans in your pecan pie is made possible by bees. Without pollination, your favorite fruits and vegetables would significantly decrease. So since bees are so great, why are we talking about honeybees? The reason is because there has been a steadily decline of honeybees for the past 10 years in the United States and Europe.
Beekeepers have reported annual hive losses of 30 percent or more which is more than considered normal. Although this past winter, many US beekeepers reported losses of 40 to 50 percent or more in annual hives which is substantially high. Researchers are calling this phenomenon Colony Collapse Disorder and believe that one-third of all honeybees have disappeared. CCD is defined as a dead colony with a live queen usually with honey and immature bees present however there are no adult bees or dead bee bodies. The amount of hives in the United States is at its lowest point in the last 50 years. Researchers believe that the contributing factors to the disorder are exposure to pesticides, parasites and global warming. The combination of all three can wreak havoc on a bee’s immune system.
Common sense practices can protect and restore the world’s bee such as banning the 7 most deadliest pesticides, restoring ecological agriculture, and preserving the natural habitat of the bees. Honeybees are essential creatures of our ecosystem and it is up to us to make certain that they are protected.