By Allica Derry
If bees die then so could a majority of the population. Some people think it’s from too many pesticides such as neonicotinoids or that it could be related to competition between bumblebees and honeybees according to the Washington Post and Reveal News. Maybe it’s just a simple parasite.
Neonicotinoids have been used by companies such as Target and Walmart to exterminate large amounts of bees near store entrances according to the Washington Post. Neonicotinoids are insecticides meaning that it is meant to kill insects. The insecticides are safer than other insecticides if birds or humans were to be exposed to it. Some researchers say that the neonicotinoids can only affect the bees in lab settings, not natural settings, while other researchers disagree, neonicotinoids have been known to corrupt the bees’ nervous systems in and out of lab settings.
Other possible causes that could lead to large amounts of bees dying consist of; competition, pathogens, parasites and the queen bee herself. The honeybee is not a native species but it is invasive, and that leads to competition with the native bumblebee for resources that could be scarce at this point. The parasite that attacks honeybees is called the Varroa mite. The Varroa mite leaves an open wound in the bee allowing for any sort of pathogen to easily infect the bee. In the queen bee situation the hive only lasts for as long as the queen does. Lately, queen bees have been dying sooner than they have been in latter years and that causes some big issues in the hive. Raising a new queen takes time and if the worker bees can’t raise a new queen in time, they themselves create one more generation of male worker bees and once they die, the hive is done, this is called colony collapse disorder or CCD.
But, why is all of this important? It’s important because honey bees are responsible for at least 30% of American crops, which translates to 30% of the food we eat. If honeybees die then we could possibly have food shortages seeing as honeybees benefit many of the main food industries such as the meat and dairy companies. It also affects the nuts and berries that we eat, especially almonds. Anything that needs bees to pollinate it could disappear from your diet in the near future.