Tons of pesticides used
Worldwide, this year
Bees are not just our suppliers of honey; they’re one of the most important pollinators of our crops. So it’s quite a concern when whole thriving colonies of bees started disappearing – flying off and never returning to their hives, abandoning their queen. It’s a mystery that many scientists struggled to solve. This disappearance which started more than 15 years ago is called Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. It is considered by the US Department of Agriculture as the biggest threat to our food supply.
Pesticides have been blamed for the demise of the bee population although some scientists believe that it’s a combination of factors. According to a new study from Harvard University, pesticides lead to the impairment of the bee’s neurological functions which affects their memory, cognition and behavior.
In the latest study which appeared last May in the Bulletin of Insectology, 2 types of neonicotinoid pesticides were pinpointed as the cause. These pesticides, Imidacloprid and Clothiandin have the greatest impact on bee hives during the winter months. The results of the various studies concluded that exposure to neonicotinoids is most likely the cause of CCD.
Another pesticide, Coumaphos is used in honey bee hives to kill a parasite called the Varoa mite which attacks honey bees!
Pesticides are being widely used in agriculture to increase the yields of crops. The problem is that the pesticides spread to the surrounding soil. The bees bring home the contaminated pollen to their hives and even transfer the pesticides to other crops.
Agrichemical companies such as Monsanto Co, Bayer AG, Syngenta AG and others are denying the ill effects of pesticides to the bee colonies. Bayer and Syngenta are the makers of the pesticides mentioned above and Monsanto uses it to coat the seeds they sell.
Bee Pollination accounts for more than $15 billion in increased crop value every year. One out of the three mouthful of food on our diet is directly or indirectly affected by bee pollination. The almond industry alone requires 1.4 million colonies of honey bees!
The disappearance of the bees is a sign from nature that we cannot continue our current practices without consequences. We may not be prepared for the effects of destroying the fragile balance of our ecosystems.
Read more about the issues affecting our world and our environment today.