I love bees. I’ve been beekeeping since I was about 13, from basics of collecting honey to installing hives. While I don’t do it as much as I would like to, I still have that passion for bees. There are tons of different kinds of bees from Carpenter Bees to Sweat Bees. Let alone the different type of honey bees that there are; Italian, Russian, African and so on. They are a huge part of our ecosystem. Yes, that tiny insect you see float around and that you are probably terrified of since it might sting you. Bees are the top pollinators for agriculture. About 33% of any food you eat is somehow affected by a honey bee pollination. 75% of all fruits, vegetables, nuts in the U.S are pollinated by bees. Depending on the crop as well, like almonds, it could be entirely dependent on honey bee pollination.
Now why am I telling you about all these facts and why bees are so important? Well, there is a crisis in the United States that luckily has gotten more and more attention as the years go by. Honey bees are struggling to get by. While it is a usual thing that some colonies won’t survive the winter or some third party gets involved(Those pesky animals), more and more colonies have been dying due to Colony Collapse Disorder. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. CCD has led to almost double the rate of loss. Weirdly enough, it seems to be more of an issue in the United States than anywhere else in the world. Why is that? Well, it could be a variety of reasons from new kinds of mites to climate change. Could be a mix of all the above as well! My personal opinion would lead in more of the direction of pesticides. Many countries in Europe have started to push to banning pesticides that are shown to affect bee population. Luckily, the US Government has started to follow way and started to investigate and ban pesticides. Pesticides are the new factor. Viruses, parasites, winter and all those variables have been around and bees have been able to deal with it. Either way, whatever the issue may be, it needs to be solved.
How can we deal with this? Luckily, the United States Department of Agriculture has had this as a focus for many years. Recently they released a strategy to help improved honey bees and other pollinators. Their three top goals are to reduce loses in winter of honey bees, increase monarch butterfly population, and increase pollinator habitats.
What can YOU do though to help?