The Honey Bee Crisis: Is it really that bad?
Updated: Oct 24, 2018
Chances are that you have heard about this problem for years. Bees are dying and humans are to blame. Although this is a very troubling idea, you cannot help but wonder if this is really such a big deal or if it’s really true. How can we be the problem? Hopefully the following information will help you decide whether or not the bee crisis is a big deal and if so, what can be done about it.
What are bees?
Most of us know what bees look like but to further understand how and why they act the way they do we need a little more information.
Bees are social insects that live in colonies that can range upward into the thousands and can last many years. They are oval shaped and have yellow and brown bands on their bodies and their stingers are barbed which is why they break off once inserted in the host. Unfortunately for the bee they die after they sting so you won’t have to worry about being stung multiple times like wasps tend to do.
Bees have 6 legs. Two in the back can carry pollen to the hive and other flowing plants. This is how they pollinate crops. As they land on different plants to collect nectar their legs collect pollen which is then transferred to the next few plants they land on.
Now, you may be asking ‘what about honey?” Well as mentioned above bees collect nectar. This is the building block of what we know as honey. Bees can fly miles from their hive to collect as much nectar as they can carry. Once they have enough they start heading back to the hive and start producing honey after a long process. For a better understanding of how they create honey visit this YouTube video.
Now that we have more information we can dive into the crisis.
How do we profit from them?
There are countless ways we benefit from their survival. The most notable being the food industry. Many crops are pollinated by bees when they land on the plant and collect pollen on their hind legs which are then transferred to others such as apple trees. This helps plants produce their fruits, or vegetables, for us to consume.
Even the beauty industry is not one that many people realize are impacted by bees specifically. Countless beauty products contain beeswax for anything from solidifying products to helping skin retain moisture. It’s still one of the top natural products in the industry. Honey is also used for beauty supplies such as face masks or lip balms as it contains antibacterial properties helping you keep a healthy glow.
What happens if they die?
Because we rely heavily on bee pollination for much of our food such as almonds, apples, squash, etc. we will lose a large portion of that produce. Farmers end up suffering from these unpolluted crops because a low production rate means less money in their pocket impacting not only their community but also their families. These losses also force farmers to increase the price of their products making them more expensive in stores.
Along with losing part of our diet, through loss of fruits and vegetables, bees are also responsible for pollinating plants in our ecosystem. Plants do many things for our environment like produce oxygen through a process known as photosynthesis. They also help reduce erosion by holding soil together with their root systems.
How can we help?
There are a few ways you can help the bee population in your local community. Like other species bees get thirsty. Leaving out a fresh pale or dish of water near your flowering plants is a great way to help them make it back to their hive. You can even add a little sugar but be aware ants also love sugary drinks.
Reducing pesticides in your garden is another great help. There had been a link of certain pesticides containing glyphosate, to name one, and the recent bee decline. You can also call a bee expert like Seabreeze (who can treat or recommend) to remove a hive that’s in a dangerous place such as a playground or backyard.
So Is the Bee Crisis a problem right now?
Given all the information above, the question still is should we worry? Well, yes and no. Because we do know partly about bee decline there have been steps within the industry to prevent it. So already things are being done in the government, but it is still something that needs to be kept in mind so that this problem doesn’t get worse. Taking a few small steps, like leaving water out and planting flowering plants, is a great help to these important animals. Remember, ultimately the choice is yours whether you should worry or not and if you’d like to be part of the solution.