The idea of bees disappearing in mass quantities may sound a little eerie, but the vanishing of honey bees is no ghost story: it's happening right now in real life. Why are the bees dying? Will honey bees go extinct? Scientists and researchers are trying to find out what is causing honey bees to disappear, and they've come up with a few reasons why bees are endangered.
Honey Bees Disappearing & Endangered: the Facts
The disappearance of bees has received media attention more recently in 2012 and 2013, but the bee population has been endangered for quite a while. The number of honey bees has gone down by 50% over the last 60 years, but the endangered bees are dying out much faster now. Bee stings can hurt quite a bit, so you might be wondering if it would really be such a bad thing if there were less bumble bees flying around your yard each spring and summer.
As it turns out, honey bees do a lot more than just sting you and make raw honey for us to eat. Many people are not aware of this, but bee pollination is very important to the production of our food supply here in the United States. Without honey bees to pollinate our crops each year, that means less fruits and vegetables will be harvested each season, meaning less food available for us all to eat. The threat of bees going extinct and taking a good portion of our food supply with them is causing scientists to act and come up with reasons for this very unsettling phenomenon.
Why Are Honey Bees Dying Off and Vanishing?
Why are bees dying out? Scientists can explain why the honey bees are endangered and disappearing, but unfortunately it doesn't all come back to one cause, but a lot of different factors coming together to wipe out the bee population at a fast rate. Here are a few reasons why the honey bees are dying out.
Bee Disease Scientists suspect that one reason why the honey bees are dying is disease, mostly due to the attacks of the varroa mite, a bloodsucking parasite that causes viruses and and disease to spread quickly from bee to bee.
Pesticides and Fungicides Endanger Bees
Exposure to Pesticides and Fungicides Another reason for the death of the honey bees is a fairly obvious one. The pesticides and fungicides sprayed on crops are full of toxic chemicals that lead to the bees dying. You might say, "Why not stop using pesticides then?" The pesticides and fungicides are used to kill off predators of bees, like the harmful varroa mite. Scientists are trying to come up with ways to get rid of the bad insects without endangering the good ones in the process, but it's no question too much pesticide is currently being sprayed. Traces of up to 21 different kinds of pesticides have been found on some bee pollen, which means there are a lot of opportunities to cut down our outrageously high use of chemicals that are harmful to humans and honey bees.
Honey Bee Habitat Also Vanishing
Poor Nutrition and Lack of Honey Bee Habitat Just like all living things, honey bees need plenty of space to live and grow as well as nutritious food to eat. Scientists have found that the amount of natural "meadow" land full of wildflowers and indigenous plants for bees to pollinate is also vanishing, being replaced by plowed land with mostly soybeans and corn. Just like humans, it is not very nutritious for a honeybee to eat soybean and corn all of the time.
As you can see, there are quite a few reasons why honey bees are disappearing and endangered. To save the bees from extinction, the US and Canada will have to make a few changes ASAP in our current agricultural systems, but there are actually a few things you can do too that can help replenish and build back up our natural honey bee population. Planting a garden is a good way to give the bees in your local area a few more natural spaces to fly around and pollinate. One of the easiest ways you can help the bees is to stop using pesticides in your own yard and flower garden. Give the honey bees a healthy place to relax, even if it means you increase your chances of getting a bee sting every once in a while!
Save the Bees from Extinction
One of the last good ways to help the honey bees and stave off the endangerment and disappearance of bees is to buy a few queen honey bees and learn how to raise them yourself as a beekeeper! Besides the fact that as a beekeeper you will have access to plenty of raw honey to eat, your bee hives will also produce 100% pure beeswax! Pure beeswax is one of the best kept secrets in terms of natural ways to moisturize your skin and even style your hair.