Honey bees are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees, but also by other insects, birds and bats. Did you know that bees are dying at rates that we have never seen before?
Have you heard of Colony Collapse Disorder?
- Colony Collapse Disorder is a complex global phenomenon with many causes, resulting in a tragic loss of bees all over the world.
What are the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder?
- Modern agriculture and industry have created a host of sublethal stressors that damage bees’ cognition. For example, diesel fumes and neonicotinoid pesticides both reduce bees’ foraging efficiency by disturbing chemical communications in their brains.
- Modern intensive agriculture disturbs bee nutrition, which impairs their brain.
- Monoculture is the agricultural practice of producing or growing a single crop, plant, or livestock species, variety, or breed in a field or farming system at a time. With the creation of monocultures encompassing hundreds and sometimes thousands of acres, farms are no longer able to provide the living environment necessary to maintain wild honeybee colonies. Although, say, a large blueberry 'farm' may provide an immense supply of flowers for nectar and pollen, being a monoculture means that there is only one plant, and this sole plant may only flower for a few weeks or even a few days of the year. This doesn't provide enough time for the honeybees to collect their needed supplies for the remainder of the year while the monoculture fields are essentially floral deserts. It also eliminates the various 'wild pollinators' from bumblebees to beetles, who are likewise unable to survive amongst the dearth of flowers. -theecologist.org
- Climate change interferes with the relationship between bees and the plants on which they feed.
- Managed honey bees are afflicted by a range of pests, viruses and predators that have been spread around the world as a side-effect of international trade.
Read more on The Conversation: Ten years after the crisis, what is happening to the world's bees?
5 things you can do to help save bees!
- Plant bee-friendly flowers and flowering herbs in your garden and yard: Help mitigate the affect of monoculture agriculture.
- Don't use chemicals and pesticides to treat your lawn or garden: Pesticides, specifically neo-nicotinoid varieties have been one of the major culprits in Colony Collapse Disorder. Use Neem oil, soap and water instead.
- Buy local, raw honey: Just like humans, bees can get sick. That is why it is so important to buy local honey. The second you open a jar of honey from another region, you are realising foreign spores into the air, which can harm your local bees. Buy raw to avoid chemical consumption.
- Bees are thirsty: Set some water out for them.
- Buy local, organic food: Buying local and organic food means that you are not supporting the corporate agriculture industry which is continuing to harm the bees. Buying from local organic farmers ensures that your food doesn't come with pesticides and is not from grown through monoculture practises.
Read more on The Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?
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