Sting of an Environmental Crisis: Honey Bees

Sting of an Environmental Crisis: Honey Bees

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The global honey bee population is feeling the sting of a global environmental crisis. From April 2015 to April 2016 beekeepers have lost 44 percent of their honey bee colonies. This threatens agriculture as the honey bee contributes to a third of the country’s food supply.

In recent news, Buzz the Bee, Cheerios’ mascot, disappeared from General Mill’s cereal boxes to shed light on the dwindling population of bees across the globe.

Known for their honey cereal, Cheerios took initiative by campaigning #BringBackTheBees. With the support of the public, General Mills successfully donated 1.5 billion wildflower seeds. The company is also supporting their farmers with a five-year, four million dollar commitment to add acres of nectar and pollen-rich wildflowers, provided to give nutrients to bees and other pollinators to stay strong. In recent news, concerned consumers are afraid that some of the wildflower species that were included in the packet of seeds might do serious damage to various ecosystems across the US. Though Kathryn Turner, an ecologist who specializes in invasive plants, said to LifeHacker

“Invasive species can out-compete the natives they encounter, they can take up all the space and use up all the resources, they can spread disease, and cause other physical changes to their new homes, all of which can have detrimental effects on native species, and on humans.”

 

Photo from WholeFoods

Other than the lack of wildflowers that bees use to get nutrients and invasive species, climate change, pesticides, decline and loss in their habitat, light and air pollution, pose a threat to the survival of bees.

Efforts on all levels are being made to protect the bees. The US National government in 2015 announced the first National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honeybees and Other Pollinators followed by the launch of the White House Pollinator Health Task Force. Individuals interested in taking part have done so by purchasing local honey as well as some learning to become beekeepers in their own yards, all in an effort to reduce stress factors on the bee population.

Additionally, the “rusty patched” bumblebee has recently become the first bee to be considered an endangered species.  While honey bees have yet to receive this level of national protection, this act demonstrates how the government brings attention to the plight of bees on a national level, taking measures that will hopefully be extended to honey bees.

Honeylove.org gives a brief list of some more foods that we will lose if bees continue to perish.

 

Article by Rachel Grace Fritz

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