Bees seem to be having a harder time than usual recently. Since the early 2000s, beekeepers and environmental agencies have observed their numbers dying off at an alarming rate. In the US alone the loss of domesticated honeybees topped $2 Million.
Why are the Bees Dying?
This unprecedented phenomena was quick to be thrown at the blame of everyone and their neighbor and not even irregular weather patterns were beyond the scope of guilt. Nevertheless, it has only been in the past few years that the scientific community has produced sound conjectures as to what has caused this death among bees.
The compelling evidence points to the use of certain pesticides in large scale agricultural regions that have had the greatest effect on the honeybee. Pesticides containing neonicotinoids are especially lethal to the bee. furthermore the holes left in certain ecosystems by pesticides have invited invasive parasites to encroach on the bee’s land.
In the light of the aspect that bees are solely responsible for the world’s food supply, this is a serious concern. As a matter of fact, the situation is so serious that the President Himself has issued a contingency plan for improving the health of bees on a national scale.
On the other hand, investigations conducted by the agricultural community have also found that a much more evil evil may be at work behind this little death among the honey makers. Climate change, according to an article in the Journal of Science 1970 edition –this is well before the presence of neonicotinoids was ever uncovered– the honey bee has been losing significant chunks of territory (as much as 200 miles) from the southern tips of the US and Europe.
This has reportedly continued at an average of 5 miles per year since then. As the temperatures continue to rise in comparison to weather patterns and climates a hundred years ago, scientists at the University report an increase in the amount of animal and plant life that is relocating further north to enjoy temperate climates.
Bees are not joining in on the fun, as a matter of fact they are not spreading north but becoming more compacted in the regions that are still inhabitable to them. This means that less land is available for them to inhabit and therefore many will die.
In a recent press release, the lead researcher in the investigation into why are the bees dying, Jeremy Kerr, pointed out that although the use of pesticides is certainly a factor in this high rate of bee mortality, it did not explain why the bees would be losing their habitat on such a wide scale nation wide. The temperature changes do explain a lot however.
If these conditions continue the result could be very bad for everyone, I reiterate the essential function that bees have in the production of food sources for just about every ecosystem the natural world and the human race depend upon.
The reasons the bees are not advancing northward, is not answered as easily. Perhaps it is an essential part of their evolution that their populations in a particular region reach critical mass before the evolution can be made that advances a portion of the population into colder regions.