Mmmm… that sweet honey. It has a golden color, gooey texture, and a delicious taste. Bees are the thing that makes this beautiful creation. Did you know that 30% of their population is dying? There are a number of factors that are causing this. These reasons are the varroa mite, harmful chemicals in pesticides, poor nutrition, and habitat loss!
One reason that bees are dying is because of the varroa mite. The varroa mite is a parasite that attacks honey bees. The female mite will lay her eggs in the bee eggs so that when the bee hatches, the mites are already grown and ready to infest. They attach themselves on the bee’s back and suck the blood from both adult and and developing bees, which weakens its life. Inverse.com writes, “The European honeybee — which comprises most honeybee races in North America — has no innate immunity against viruses carried by the varroa mite.” Untreated infestations of varroa mites will increase the killing of bee colonies. That is one of the reasons bees are dying.
Chemicals in pesticides are killing the bees which is another reason why bees are dying. This is a tricky obstacle for bees and their keepers because they can’t control the chemicals that farmers put in their crops that bees go near. The bee comes in contact with the chemical when it takes the contaminated pollen. The pollen is sprayed by the pesticide which makes it bad. Getting the bad pollen makes the bee die. The effects of chemicals to bees are more precise and take longer to show up. Inverse.com writes, “Bees don’t die right away from pesticides,” and, “Three or four months after the exposure the colonies are more likely to die.” Some examples of these harmful chemicals are Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, and Nitenpyram. An organization called the EPA(the Environmental Protection Agency) is trying to develop new ways in testing pesticides to make sure they are safe for bees.
Poor nutrition is another big factor on why bees are dying. Honey bees collect pollen and share it with their entire colony, so if one bee brings in bad pollen, it can spread to the entire colony. When there are more industrial areas and less forests for bees to pollinate, it is tougher for bees to find proper food for them to share with the whole colony. This causes the colony to become unhealthy due to the lack of proper food. The pollen is converted to honey and used to feed the larvae, which is a bee egg. Since the pollen is bad, the larvae won’t get good nutrition either. Those places that used to be natural meadows where bees got their pollen are now heavily controlled farms with pesticides.
Another reason why bees are dying so rapidly is because of habitat loss. Bees can’t escape the impacts of these industrial cities. Another site writes, “Much of North America’s natural habitats have been transformed into highways, houses, strip malls, office complexes, and industrial parks.” They are losing valuable natural habitats such as grasslands, old fields, shrublands, and forests. Places where bees use to pollinate are now concrete streets or buildings. This is thought to be the major cause of wild pollinator declines.
So you might ask, “Why is it so bad that honey bees are dying?” Well, buzzaboutbees.net says, “Around a third of the food we eat is estimated to be dependent on insect and bee pollination.” An additional source also writes, “Honey bees are responsible for an average $30 billion a year in crops.” If we didn’t have bees to pollinate flowers, we would not get some of our favorite foods like apples, mangoes, peaches, kiwi, pomegranates, strawberries, onions, cherries, coffee, cotton (that means clothes would be super expensive), macadamia nuts, cocoa, tomatoes, and grapes just to name a few. Also, animals like pigs and cows, who are higher in the food chain, would cost more to feed them. This would be bad because it would be more expensive for us to buy these animals. Not only pigs and cows’ prices go up ,but other products would as well. Some products that would be more expensive would be cotton. Like I said earlier, cotton would become very expensive, and might even become unavailable altogether. We would also have less fabrics to choose from for our clothes.
Another issue that would be created from bees dying would be that all of the businesses that rely on this wonderful substance we call “honey” would disappear. All of the workers, beekeepers and, regular people like you and me, would lose their jobs. Honey is used as a main ingredient in many products like skincare and lip balm. Some companies who use honey as a key ingredient in their products would slowly collapse. Honey and products made with honey would also become very expensive because if the bee becomes extinct, it would be very rare. This is what will happen if bees are extinct.
Now the question is,”How can we prevent bees from dying?” alternate.org writes, “the European Commission has proposed a two-year ban on these pesticides.” This will help bees stop dying because of these dangerous chemicals. Although it may seem easy to prevent bees from dying, it takes hard work. If we want to preserve our bees and what they pollinate, we will have to take great care of them. To take care of our bees, you can do some things at home that can help. Some things you can do is not using pesticides in your garden, buying organic foods whenever possible, not smashing or killing bees when you see them, and lastly spreading the word to others about bee loss.
Overall it is horrible that bees are dying because of the awful varroa mite, harmful chemicals in pesticides, poor nutrition, and habitat loss. It is very important that we preserve our precious bees or else they won’t be able to pollinate. That could result to: prices on everyday items going up, losing some of our favorite foods, and people even losing their jobs. We can help prevent bees from dying by not using pesticides, buying organic food, and not harming our bees. It is really important that we help the bees, and people should focus on this massive problem.