To Bee or Not To Bee

Tim Kihneman, Copy Editor, Writer

“According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly.” But that doesn’t stop them from being one of the most important things on planet earth. Without bees, the entire human race could vanish from existence. Bringing along the information of bee decline and Colony Collapse Disorder is of utmost importance.

Bee populations have slowly declined in some states as much as 70%. The farms that bees are housed in use insecticides that harm the bees’ nervous and immune systems, this eventually affected the whole colony. Destroying bee habitats, moving them too frequently, their unvaried diet. All of these are causes of bee decline. This catastro-bee must be put to an end! Without bees, we wouldn’t be too far off from death.

Each year the bee population drops by 42% in some some states, and each year the numbers get smaller and smaller while prices for food get higher and higher. Our chances of survival are diminishing with the collapse of each colony. The bee population in 1998 included around 3.5 million colonies, in 2008, 2.4 million, and in 2015, 2 million hives existed in the US. Most of these are because of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). It was first observed in 2006 after the introduction of the Varroa mite in South Dakota. Many chemical manufacturers wanted to be the ones to stop the invasion of the mite so they jumped at the opportunity; this only weakened the bees’ immune system and genetic defenses to stop the mite. Mansanto, an insecticide company started producing a product called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Once infested by the bees, Bt binds to receptors within the bee’s stomach lining that keeps the bee from eating. This makes the bee even weaker to the parasite and therefore more susceptible to spores and bacteria they could usually fend off. Bt is still being used and produced in some states. Using this to eliminate the mite affects the bees, usually killing off whole hives; borderline animal cruelty.

Bees pollinate an estimated 80% of all food crops in the United States. With the rate bees are dying, food prices are rocketing upwards. 30 billion dollars of revenue a year are lost to declining bee population. What about the other animals that pollinate? Well, other pollinators such as birds and beetles are most efficient in tropical climates, the temperate climates are ruled by bee pollination. The others could not simply pick up the slack.

“If bee decline continues, it could destabilize crop yields,” Dr. Insu Koh says. Food prices, could go up more than 200% of what they’re at now. Coffee, chocolate, and fruit would become the most rare and expensive items in your local supermarket. It would be absurd to go in and buy a bag of apples or oranges for $20 or more. Bees also contribute to the medicinal field with ointments and painkillers. Topical, lotion, anti-inflammatory scrubs, makeup, and lip balm are just a few to name. Without bees humans would be in the worst position of “normal” life to date. Without them “it is to say that humanity would last four years,” Koh says. “If you enjoy almonds, apples, blueberries, and watermelons, you should worry about bee decline.”

In order to #SaveTheBees a larger variety of bee-attracting crops need to be planted. A program called Seeds for Bees is currently doing something similiar to this. With Seeds for Bees you can plant a mix group of flowers that create the perfect environment for bees to thrive. Next would come the banning of bee-harming pesticides and chemicals. Education on bee importance can be spread anywhere. Be bee-friendly and save our greatest insect! “Thinking bee!”