You really know something is wrong with the environment when things affect you first hand. Take the latest news about the rapid bee decline seen in the world today. Scary, yes. But even scarier when you try to buy honey from your local bee keepers, and they say that sorry, there just isn’t any.
Actually, it was my Mother who went to the local bee farm over the weekend to buy the delicious virgin honey that she has been buying for years. Well, last Sunday the bee keeper bleakly told her that there simply wasn’t any. The bees just didn’t make them. Were they leaving? or worse, were they dying? Are the culprits really pesticides?
So if the bees were indeed dying out, wouldn’t it mean that we wouldn’t have so many of the fresh produce we enjoy today? Like apples? And worse, if there weren’t bees pollinating our plants, how would nature survive?
Entomology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Dr. John Burand recently had a lecture called “Colony Collapse Disorder in Honey Bees: The Tip of the Iceberg.” in which he explains the dire facts:
So what is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)? A beekeeper in Pennsylvania first reported CCD in 2006. The symptoms include fewer or no adult bees, but the hive has plenty of larvae and honey. Surviving bees do not want to touch the food, though, nor do predators that would normally gorge on an empty hive. Historically there have been many large die-outs, but the extent of commercial migration of bees to pollinate different crops has spread the disease all around the country, with more than 30 states reporting heavy losses; some experts predict one-third of all honey bees have died since 2006. Some commercial operations have even lost all of their bees.
There’s no easy answer to what causes CCD, but Professor Burand suggested four main areas that are probably factors. First, stress on the bees from migration and other factors weakens the bees’ immune systems. Secondly, parasitic mites, which live off of, and eventually kill, the bees are a major factor, though these pests are nothing new. Next, pesticides on crops and in people’ yards harm the bees. Finally, these factors all lead to pathogens, like bacteria, fungi and viruses, killing off bees that would otherwise be able to fight off these diseases.
So is there any thing we can do to help these poor bees? Yes. Support organic farming. Buy organic. Its that simple.
For more information on the plight of bees today, check out these links: