Don’t you know that bees are dying? Yes, nowadays the number of bee population is plummeting, and in some places it even touches the record low. There are so many speculations on what’s the biggest reason behind this phenomenon.
There are so many speculations spreading about the real reason, starting from pesticides, cell phone towers, even mites. But among those reasons, researchers found another thing that might be the reason why bee population is plummeting nowadays.
But this discovery is nothing to celebrate about. Instead, it is a scary and complex issue far more than what we have thought. Thus, in this article, we are going to talk about this discovery, and how it might affect our future.
Bees And Pollination
Bees are very important animal, if not the most important animals, on earth. Their presence alone means a lot to the surrounding natural environment. But their importance is likely not being sought after by us, because we are in fact killing bees with almost everything we do.
Modern civilization requires a lot of changes in the nature, and those changes are killing us. In example, we are already killing bees by using pesticides. Pesticides are mainly used to protect our crops from harmful pests, but most of the chemicals in pesticides also get rid of bees.
It is a kind of funny story. While bees are killed with pesticides, which are used to protect our crops, but on the other side pesticides also kill bees. The presence of bees is highly valuable for our crops. Bees are the most important pollinator to ever exist naturally.
“We know that wild bees are greatly at risk and not doing well worldwide. This status assessment of wild bees shines a light on the exact species in decline, beside the well-documented bumble bees,” as Sandra Rehan, assistant professor of biological sciences from the University of New Hampshire, said in a prepared statement.
“These species are major players in crop pollination, it raises concerns about compromising the production of key crops and the food supply in general,” Rehan, which is the senior leader of a study concerning on bee population in New England, continued.
The only reason why we want to use pesticides to kill annoying pests is to make our crops survive the process. And part of the process that we can identify easily is making profits from selling it. In short, we use pesticides, which are not free, to get bigger profits.
However, using chemical pesticides to protect our crops is actually a bad math, when the number of bee population is included in the calculation. In the United States alone, bees are responsible for pollinating $30 billion worth of crops.
When all those crops are not pollinated, then most of them cannot yield the profitable produces. As the number of bee population is declining, there is less and less crop being pollinated, which means less and less profit for us.
As crops are responsible for our food supply, it further means that not only we are losing money, but we are also losing food. So here is the math; we buy chemical pesticides, spend it to kill bees, getting less and less profit, and repeat.
If such kind of process continues, it means that there is one point when we have no bees, no produce, and no profit from our farming activities. This terror is lurking from every corner of this planet, as most farmers all around the world are conducting this process.
Colony Collapse Disorder
How severe is actually nowadays condition? It is pretty severe, actually, that even we have the term to describe the decline in bee colony worldwide. This condition is called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and researchers are struggling to find the cause.
Researchers predicted that there are 10 million bee colonies had been wiped out of existence over past six years alone. Mathematically, it costs us around $2 billion worldwide, and the number only keeps on increasing.
So, what’s actually the real cause? Pesticides and parasites are among the main suspects. But as we mentioned before, the cause that recent study discovered is much more complex than those two suspects mentioned above.
The finding concluded that nowadays bees are more prone to parasites. The reason is because they are consuming more and more fungicides from pollinated crops. Researchers found that bees with high contamination to fungicides are three times more prone to parasites.
And since bees are sharing their food, the decline of body immunity is also spread inside the beehives. It is like an AIDS for bees, and more and more infected bees are spreading the condition all over places. In addition to that, bee parasites are getting stronger and stronger time by time.
Imagine if such kind of condition is happening to human worldwide. It would be a huge disaster and most likely causing chaos all over the world. However, since it happens in the world of tiny buzzing creature, we pay less attention to it.
But if we let this condition to keep on happening, there is a possibility that it will affect our lives too. Thus, you might ask how can we prevent further disaster to happen? The answer is simple: stop using toxic chemicals that can kill bees.
“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the lead author of the study, to Quartz.
The application of fungicides to our crops is different from how we treat the crops with pesticides. While most pesticides are warning the farmers to not spray when pollinating bees are in vicinity, such kind of rule doesn’t apply for fungicides.
This is the reason why bees are bringing the toxic chemical to their hives. “It’s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practices,” said vanEngelsdorp.
If we need bees, we have to protect them from dangerous threats. Thus, we need to be more careful of our farming practices that include using chemicals in it. This finding is a breakthrough in study about CCD, but without further follow-ups, it means nothing.