Chloe Alverson ‘17 & Brooke Lynn Tremblay ‘17- Spring has sprung, and the bees are back to work. In recent years, the bee population has suffered tremendous losses. You may be wondering how this affects you and why you should care, but these reasons are a part of your life every single day. “One-third of the food we eat depends on insect pollination, mostly by Honeybees that are raised and managed by beekeepers,” a stat from Business Insider states. These foods include apples, mangos, peaches, cashews, onions, strawberries, avocados, lime, walnut, coffee, coconut, watermelon, vanilla, tomatoes, and many more. If the population of bees continues to descend, consider these foods gone. The loss of these creatures directly impacts humankind.
“Not only do they pollinate flowers and create tasty honey, but they pollinate plants! A lot of our food from plants, bees have pollinated,” Madison Burt ‘18 said. “Basically, without them, humans wouldn’t have food. They’re beautiful and fragile creatures.”
Researchers led by Chensheng Lu at Harvard university concluded that this decrease may have to do with a pesticide class known as neonicotinoids. These pesticides have taken down entire hives over just one winter, 30% according to Business Insider, due to their harmful, nicotine-like effects. A pesticide known as clothianidin was noted by the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) as, “completely unacceptable for use,” banning its use entirely. That very pesticide is used on more than one third of US crops. Pesticides affect not only the physical well-being of the bees, but mental also. A condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), causes bees to hallucinate, becoming disoriented. They can no longer find their way back to their hive, and eventually die. As more bees are affected by this, more hives disappear. This shows how serious a threat pesticides are, and proves they must be critically tested and monitored before being put to use.
“I think that a way we could help save the bees is to stop seeing bees and automatically going to kill them, but instead trying to catch them or steer them outside in a humane way,” Hannah Simpson ‘18 said.
The complex minds of human-beings have created so much progression, but with that inventive nature has come increasing destruction of the natural world. These bees are counting on us to turn things around, and to realize that coexisting is crucial to the lives of both parties. We need them, and right now, they need us even more. So the next time you are thinking about swatting that bee, or spraying that hive, consider what that means for your future.