Did you know that without the insects that pollinates the flowers, we wouldn’t be able to eat fruits and vegetables? And that mostly of them are bees? But now, they are disappearing massively. All a hive can quit their nest in one night! The most worrying thing is that nobody knows why!
So I was watching TV on a documentary on the bees, and suddenly it talked about the colony collapse disorder, or the CCD. So has curious has I am, I searched for CCD on Internet, and only then I realised that this is a really big problem…
Image via Wikipedia
What’s the CCD?
The colony collapse disorder is a strange phenomenon where bees quit their habitats to fly away and never returns. Except in winter, where all the bees are sleeping, this psychic phenomena is happening during all the year. The strange thing is, there are no dead bees in or close to the hive. Plus, the Queen of the bees is still alive and in good health, even if there is almost no bees anymore. The last young adults are not eating much and the honey production is going down.
When did it appeared?
It seems that people started reporting missing bees in the 1890s. But a more important mass disappeared in 1990 or even in the 1960s. The alert had be given in Europe in 2000, and in 2006 by the beekeepers in the United State of America, and it went even worst in 2007.
What are the numbers?
In 2007, 70% of the bees, or even 80%, didn’t came back in some regions. Since 2000, countries in Europe lost 90% of it’s bees, presumed dead because they didn’t came back.
Why is this happening?
The problem is, nobody is sure why. In 2009, the French food security agency (in french AFSSA) published a report enumerating 40 causes that could be the problem. Here’s some of them:
- The viruses. Some bacterias can cause all these problems when the hive is infected by them.
- The Israel Acute Paralysis Virus (or the IAPV). According to a study published in the Science magazine, the IAPV is one of the main reason, but we need to know if it’s only this or there is other factors.
- The Vespa velutina, a chinease bumble-bee that kill the bees. It can’t be the main factor, but it surely is a factor more or less important.
- Certain pesticides. Some of them are suspected, such has the insecticides, the fipronil, the thiamethoxam, the herbicides, the fungicide and the metabolite.
- The parasites, or mostly the varroas. We can find them all around the Earth, because of all these bees moving from a place to another.
- An contamination of the wax by some toxic product brought by bees or the air.
- The GMO. Because these plants are made to produce their own insecticide, some of their pollen are toxic.
- The mycosis. We found microscopic mushrooms that contains mycosis in the body of some dead bees. But sometimes hives with infected bees are even more active. Some scientists think it might be a medicine for the bees, but we are sure of nothing.
- An environmental factor that we still don’t understand.
- The way farmers plant or harvest their crops. It changed because of all the national concurrence, the norms of the fruits and vegetables, etc.
- And the change of the biodiversity of the bees, since they were developing according to their environment.
What if the bees would disappear forever?
Like Einstein said “If the bees would disappear, the humanity would only have 4 years left”. In China, for exemple, the bees are not there to pollinate the flowers anymore, so there are workers who are preparing the pollen, dry them and putting them in the flowers. It’s a difficult and boring job and they wish the bees were still there.
Is there other ways to pollinate the flowers?
Yes, there are: insects (butterfly, ants, etc…), birds, certain mammals, the wind and even by the water!
Are there ways to prevent bees to disappear?
Yes, there are, but these are only for the beekeepers:
- Do not put strong colonies and weak colonies together.
- If you find an empty hive, prevent other bees to access it.
- If you feed your bees sugar syrup, use some Fumagillin.
- If you have bees that are affected by CCD and you see a secondary infection, such as the European Foulbrood, treat the colonies with Terramycin.
This is for the farmers
- Instead of using beekeepers’ bees, use native bees. It is more useful since the native bees had been pollinating this area for years.
If you aren’t a farmer nor a beekeeper and you want to help, one great way to help save the bees is by keeping your own hive. Beekeeping is an incredibly rewarding hobby, and bees are surprisingly easy to manage once you know how. The more of us start beekeeping, the better chance for the honeybee to survive this crisis. Go here to learn how to.
So that’s it. I hope you learned things and hope you know now how important bees are for the humanity.