For many environmentalists, the plight of the humble bee is seen as a warning of things to come. Over the last few years, bee populations have plummeted around most of the developed world and the USA is no exception. Last year researchers determined that nearly 30% of US bees were lost over the winter to a combination of mite infestations and the changing habitat.
That’s more than a quarter of colonies simply disappeared, in fact more than 50% of American beekeepers suggested that their losses were simply unsustainable. It’s only over the last few years since the plight of the bee has been realised, that there have been accurate records kept but the trend has been mainly downwards. Some slight rises have been recorded yet most of these have been the result of beekeepers creating more colonies with the expectation of huge losses – the new colonies rarely survive long. Although most of the losses have been in the Winter months, reports are now beginning to suggest that losses are happening in the Summer too.
Check out the environmental pages of the BBC website where you’ll find lots of information on this issues including several documentaries which cover the subject on a global scale. For viewers outside the UK you may need to use this technique here BBC iPlayer Ireland. Although the example is from Ireland it actually works effectively in any country by changing your IP address to a British one.
This is extremely worrying, the bee is not simply another creature that we can wave goodbye to with a sense of regret. We need bees, approximately 30% of the food we eat relies either directly or indirectly to them. They are responsible for pollinating a huge part of our food sources without them we lack a pollination system.
Imagine that in the 1940s there were around 5 million bee colonies spread across the USA, there are now less than half that figure. The reasons are disputed but they’re likely to be to do with insecticides, changing habitat and of course certain mites which can threaten bee colonies. Some of these we have caused and can control – the most pressing one is restricting the use of the specific pesticides which we know can harm bees.
James Collins, Author – Most Secure VPN