A condition know as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD for short, has swept the United States and could indicate tragedy for the US honeybee population as well as our crops. Since 2006, more than three million honeybee colonies in the US, and even more worldwide, died and it is estimated that 34% of colonies died last winter alone. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has indicated irresponsible use of pesticides, poor nutrition due to intensive farming methods, and infection as stressors on the bee population.
Close to a third of everything that we eat on this planet is dependent upon honeybees for pollination. From the wildflowers we see outside, to the cotton in our clothing, to the veggies and nuts we eat and use to feed our livestock. Bees also sustain the food chain that supports birds and wild game. Without honeybees we would live in a world… well actually, without honeybees this world would be pretty un-livable. At this point in human civilization we have become commercially dependent on honeybees as the primary pollinators for our crops, naturally since they are the most efficient insects at what they do. Without them, our food industries would probably literally collapse.
Enough nay-saying and doom-predicting, though. What can we do to prevent further losses? For starters we can encourage and support sustainable farming and organic farmer’s produce in our supermarkets. Don’t over fertilize your lawn and try to find bee-friendly ways to deal with home garden pests. Plant native gardens and try to be compassionate when deciding whether to smash and swat these bi-colored bugs while they buzz about you in the summers. We can all do these things for better bees today, and a better future tomorrow.
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