What’s happening to all the bees? Due to a variety of factors, bees have been on the decline for several years. You’ve probably heard a lot about this already! Curious about what the deal is and wondering how to help? Scroll down to learn more.
The buzz on bees
Yes, bees make honey, but they do a lot more than that to keep us fed. It’s estimated that one third of all food is pollination dependent. Bees pollinate about 70 different types of crops, including favorites like apples, avocados, almonds, broccoli, carrots, citrus fruit and many, many more, plus crops consumed by the livestock humans commonly use for food.
It’s not just humans and livestock that are affected. Other animals in the food chain rely on bees to pollinate their food, too. Plus, bees help maintain the genetic diversity and health of flowering plants.
In 2006, beekeepers saw the bee populations begin to decline – healthy bees started abandoning their hives and disappearing. In the 12 years since, about a third of the world’s honeybees have disappeared. At least nine percent of bee species worldwide are currently at risk for extinction. Scientists are still working to pinpoint the exact reasons, but factors may include global warming, certain pesticides, parasites that target bees and diminishing habitats.
Save our pollinators!
The good news is that bee populations are starting to see a slight increase. There’s still plenty of work to be done – that’s where you come in! By staying aware of bees and becoming pollinator friendly, you can do your part to save the bees. Plant bee-friendly gardens, consider what chemicals you use, and support your local beekeepers. The Habitat Environmental Center has more ways you can help – check out our Beekeeping classes, which return in September!
“Why We Need Bees: Nature’s Tiny Workers Put Food on Our Tables.” National Resources Defense Council, March 2011. Accessed August 14, 2017.
Packham, Chris. “Would We Starve Without Bees?.” iWonder BBC. Accessed August 14, 2017.
Schwartz, John. “Decline of Pollinators Poses Threat to World Food Supply, Report Says.” The New York Times, February 28, 2016. Accessed August 14, 2017.