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Would you believe us if we told you that bees keep our bellies full? No, we don’t mean you should eat bees. What we mean is bees do much more for us than sting and cause our skin to swell up in pain. Bees are a key factor in our economy, food sources and our environment’s health. How so? Bees pollinate our crops. However, bees are in danger due to so many bee colony collapses in recent years due to climate change. But, what can we do to help?
Why are Bees Important to the Environment?
What do bees do to help the environment? Lots of things. In fact, they are critical to our country’s agricultural crops, which in turn affects the economy, our food security and the environment’s health. Bees are the main pollinators of many of our fruits and nuts. Honey bee pollination adds more than $15 billion in value to our crops every year. This helps keep our diets filled with fruits, vegetables and nuts. Without bees our country could be in great danger.
Why are Bees Dying?
Climate change, neonicotinoids, Varroa destructor mite and poor nutrition are all contributing to bees disappearing.
Climate Change & Bees
We’ve all heard about climate change, but did you know it’s hurting certain species? Bees are one of these species in danger due to this drastic change. Many species migrate north to adjust to the temperature changes but bees are not doing so. Resulting in many of them dying.
What are Neonicotinoids?
Bees are dying from pesticides called neonicotinoids affecting their nervous systems. This results in the bees suffering from infections. Neonicotinoids have a chemical structure similar to nicotine. It has been linked to honeybee colony collapse disorder and also to a loss of birds because of a reduced number of insects.
To learn more about how neonicotinoids are killing bees, watch this video. Warning: this, is a very sad video.
What’s a Varroa Destructor Mite?
The Varroa destructor mite has infested the United States from Asia. The parasite was introduced by accident and has been attacking hives across the nation.
Why are Bees Getting Poor Nutrition?
Humans are taking over! We are building houses, businesses, apartment complexes, restaurants, farms and more. Therefore, we are destroying their flowers and replacing them with our buildings, green lawns and farmland.
President Obama Has Taken Action
The bee colony collapse crisis is so serious that in June 2014, President Obama signed a memorandum outlining a federal pollinator strategy in which the Agriculture Department gave farmers and ranchers in five states $8 million in incentives to establish habitats for honeybees to thrive off of.
So, what do you think about this risk to our eco and food system? Will you start your own bee colony? If you are interested — learn more about beekeeping for beginners.