What’s up Honey Bee?

Written by Kajsa IngelssonMay 29, 2020

Did you know that bees are some of the best pollinators in the world? Bees are specifically responsible for 70 of approximately 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world’s population.

So to say that bees are vital to us is not an understatement. It’s estimated that 1/3 of global food production is reliant on insect pollination. If we lose our pollinators, we lose the plants they pollinate. That will in itself threaten the animals living off those plants, and thus entire ecosystems will be in perrill.

A 2019 study suggests that over 40% of the world’s insect species are in decline; scientists believe that around one-third of insect species could be threatened with extinction.

Why is this happening?

Invasive species

Invasive predators, parasites and pathogens have all contributed to the collapse of global bee colonies. In Europe for example, the spread of the Asian Hornet has caused concern as they’re specialised honeybee predators.

Pesticides

Pesticide exposure is highly toxic and deadly to so much of the life on our planet. And the smaller you are, the more detrimental it is. The three most common pesticides are insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. Chemicals in insecticides can kill bees and reduce reproductivity rates (some of these have recently been banned in the EU), while herbicides contain weed killers that destroy many of the plants bees rely on for foraging. The most commonly used weedkiller, glyphosate, can also harm the gut microbes of bees, which is bad for their health.

Climate breakdown

Some wild bees can only survive in a very narrow temperature range. As habitats get warmer, the places they can survive reduces, forcing them to seek out colder climates. Additionally, changing climates can change when plants flower, disrupting bee nesting behaviour. Imagine waking up from sleeping all winter and finding out that it’s still cold AF and no food is to be found? Yeah, not a funny story..

Habitat destruction

Conventional agriculture and farming have led to massive declines in biodiversity all across the board. In the UK, 97% of vital grasslands (!!!!) have been lost in the past 60 years. The loss of hedgerows, woodland and meadows rich in plant species has been a killer for so many animals. In it’s place monocultures and intensive agriculture is panning out, killing our diversity in so many ways.

What can be done?

Rewilding our planet is an excellent starting point.

A way to start aligning with the cause on a simple personal level is is to buy organic and regeneratively grown food.

We must also replace our manicured grass-lawns with wild and diverse plant and flower gardens (here’s a guide), and provide safe pollinator baths where they can drink and hives wherever it’s appropriate without conflict with other animals.

We need to collectively put pressure on our politicians to prioritise regenerative agriculture and reducing pesticide use. Signing petition and using your voice in other ways are according to me not only an opportunity, but a responsibility.

A world without bees is not a world we want to experience, so let’s act NOW, before it’s too late!