Why are honey bees going away?
- 1 Why are honey bees going away?
- 1.1 Pesticides
- 1.2 Changes in the climate
- 1.3 Devastation of the environment
- 1.4 How to Save the Bees in 10 Easy Steps
- 1.4.1 1. Establish a Bee Garden
- 1.4.2 2. Make a chemical-free environment for bees
- 1.4.3 3. Volunteer as a Citizen Scientist
- 1.4.4 4. Plant Bee-Friendly Trees
- 1.4.5 5. Make a bath for the bees
- 1.4.6 6. Provide habitat for native bees
- 1.4.7 7. Provide native bee hives and homes
- 1.4.8 8. Instruct Tomorrow’s Beekeepers
- 1.4.9 9. Organize a Fundraiser
- 1.4.10 10. Help Local Beekeepers and Non-Profit Organizations
Bees, such as honey bees, bumble bees, and solitary bees, are critical pollinators of food crops. Insects carry pollen from one plant to another, fertilising the plants and allowing them to produce fruit, vegetables, seeds, and other products. If all bees became extinct, the delicate balance of the Earth’s ecosystem would be disrupted, posing a threat to world food supplies.
There are about 800 wild bee species in Europe, with seven of them being listed as severely endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A further 46 are threatened, 24 are vulnerable, and 101 are in danger. While it’s doubtful that all bee species would go extinct anytime soon, the loss of these vulnerable species would have a significant impact on global pollination, wiping out plant species that we rely on for food.
However, the issue extends far beyond bees. Honeybees, on the other hand, are responsible for barely one-third of agricultural pollination and a very minor percentage of wild plant pollination. Other insects such as butterflies, bumblebees, and small flies are responsible for the rest of the work, and it appears that these insects are in difficulty as well.
According to a recent study, up to 40% of the world’s insect species are in decline. Insects are eight times more likely than vertebrates to become extinct. In protected areas in Germany, scientists have observed losses of up to 75% of the entire mass of insects.
Because of these trends, experts predict that over a third of all insect species, or nearly 2 million, are in danger of extinction. Every year, about 100,000 new species are added to the list. However, hard data on vulnerable insect species is few, with the IUCN assessing only 8,000 reports.
Here’s a list of the major reasons for insect diversity and abundance losses, according to scientists.
Species that have become invasive
The collapse of honeybee colonies around the world has been blamed on invasive predators, parasites, and disease-causing bacteria known as “pathogens.”
The emergence of the Asian Hornet in Europe has recently sparked widespread worry. Honey bees are prey for this species, and a single hornet can wipe out an entire hive.
Of course, bees have coexisted with these viruses in the past. Scientists believe that the increased exposure to chemicals, which can harm bees’ immune systems, is linked to the increased number of bees lost to various diseases in recent years. Finding a honey bee removal spray can be difficult, Let us help!
Pollution, particularly pesticide exposure, is a major contributor to pollinator decrease. Insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides are the three types of chemical pesticides most commonly used in the UK: insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides.
Insecticides include chemicals that can kill pollinators, making them a danger. However, they may not be the most serious issue that pollinators face. In fact, herbicides are used five times as much in agriculture as insecticides. These weed pesticides attack a wide range of natural plants that bees rely on for food.
Planting wildflower strips on the edge of crops is recommended by environmentally friendly agricultural plans to provide safe refuge and food sources for pollinators. However, pesticide clouds floating from the fields can contaminate the wildflower areas.
According to the most recent studies, glyphosate (the most commonly used weed herbicide) might affect the intestinal microorganisms of bees, which could have disastrous consequences for their health.
Although farmer-applied herbicides and pesticides are believed to be one of the primary reasons of pollinator loss, chemicals employed by city authorities and civilian gardeners may also be affecting bees and other insects. So, if at all possible, avoid using them for the sake of the bees.
Changes in the climate
Wild bee decreases are thought to be exacerbated by global warming. Some wild bees can only survive in a certain temperature range. As their shelters warm, the amount of space they can occupy shrinks. Some people may be forced to live at higher altitudes, where it is cooler, resulting in a reduction in the amount of space they have to live in.
Devastation of the environment
The way land is farmed has been linked to biodiversity and pollination losses. Farming eliminates the kind of nesting sites used by bees, reduces the variety of food available to bees, and has broader effects on other creatures such as wild birds, mammals, and amphibians.
While many insect species are already becoming extinct, those that remain are rapidly replacing them, making it unlikely that crops will cease to be pollinated in the near future. Generalist species like the buff-tailed bumblebee, European honey bees, and common little black flies, which can withstand a wide variety of temperatures and circumstances, will become the primary pollinators of our food sources, while rarer, more specialist species will dwindle.
How to Save the Bees in 10 Easy Steps
1. Establish a Bee Garden
A lack of safe environment where bees may build nests and obtain a range of nutritious food sources is one of the most serious challenges to bees. You can build a habitat corridor with plants that are high in pollen and nectar by planting a bee garden. Gardens may be developed across yards and in window boxes, flower pots, and planters, so you don’t need a lot of room to cultivate bee-friendly plants. You can also work with local governments and organisations to develop ways to improve public and shared areas.
2. Make a chemical-free environment for bees
Bees are poisoned by synthetic pesticides, fertilisers, herbicides, and neonicotinoids, which disrupt their delicate systems. Synthetics should not be used in your garden or green spaces. Instead, utilise organic materials and natural remedies like compost to improve soil health and helpful insects like ladybugs and praying mantises to keep pests at bay.
3. Volunteer as a Citizen Scientist
Join a global effort to gather information about our favourite pollinators! Using the iNaturalist app, collect images and other information on native bees. Host a BeeBlitz event to make it a social activity for your pals! We can learn about bees in many locations and cities and uncover chances to nurture them if we work together.
4. Plant Bee-Friendly Trees
Did you realise that trees provide the majority of nectar for bees? When a tree blooms, hundreds, if not thousands, of blossoms are available to eat. Bees use trees not only as a food source, but also as a habitat. Bees use tree leaves and resin as nesting material, and natural wood cavities provide ideal refuge. With deforestation and development on the rise, you can aid bee habitats by caring for trees and participating in local tree-planting events.
5. Make a bath for the bees
Foraging and collecting nectar causes bees to build up quite a thirst. Fill a shallow bird bath or bowl halfway with clean water, then place pebbles and stones within to break the surface of the water. Bees will land on the stones and pebbles to drink for a long time.
6. Provide habitat for native bees
With the exception of honeybees, did you realise that most bees are solitary creatures? 70% of solitary bees reside underground, with the remaining 30% living in tree cavities or hollow stems. Bumble bees, for example, construct their nests in undisturbed area, and you can give a safe haven for them in your yard by leaving an untouched piece of land for them! Mason bees, for example, can live in “bee condos,” which are made up of little tube “apartments.” They’re simple to manufacture or buy. Solitary bee homes are placed in gardens, schools, and communities across the United States and Canada as part of our Sponsor-a-Hive programme.
7. Provide native bee hives and homes
Keep honeybees, foster native bees, or assist gardens and schools across the United States and Canada in growing food and strengthening local ecosystems. By providing the tools, gear, and instruction needed to successfully home bees, our Sponsor-a-Hive initiative provides safe havens for valuable pollinators in underserved communities. Make a donation to our cause or apply for a home for your group or organisation.
8. Instruct Tomorrow’s Beekeepers
Inspire the next generation of environmentalists with bee-themed guides, lessons, and activities! Educators may utilise our free tools to bring nature and ecology into the classroom — and into the hearts of kids all over the world.
9. Organize a Fundraiser
To assist #BeeTheSolution, host an online fundraiser or do something you enjoy. Your #BeeTheSolution fundraising events foster community development and information exchange while also raising funding for The Bee Conservancy’s programmes. It’s a simple and enjoyable method to make a significant effect.
10. Help Local Beekeepers and Non-Profit Organizations
Local beekeepers put in a lot of effort to care for their hives and the community. Purchasing locally made honey and beeswax products is the simplest way to express your gratitude. Many beekeepers make soaps, lotions, and beeswax candles with honey from their hives. Furthermore, local honey is not only sweet, but it is also made from local flora and may aid in the relief of seasonal allergies! You can also help local beekeeping societies and environmental organisations flourish by donating your time, resources, and money.