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The Buzz About Bees

In early January, the rusty patched bumblebee was added to the United States endangered species list. This isn’t the first time a bee has been deemed endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Services. On September 30th, seven different species of Hawaiian bees were added to the endangered species list. The rusty patched bee is another insect losing it’s home and its life to pesticides, climate change, diseases, etc. This piece of news should come as no surprise, however. Ever since the 1990s, “the bee’s population has plummeted nearly 90 percent.“ Once found in 28 states, the rusty patched bumblebee is now only found in 2 states in America.
What happened? What is happening to all the bees? Where did we start going wrong?
The answer?
Humans.
In January of 2017, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) admitted that the most used pesticide in the world, Neonicotinoids, kills bees. Nenicotinoids is chemically alike to nicotine, one of the most harmful chemicals found in things like cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Climate change is also another way that bees are being affected. Bees are very reliant on temperature. The queen cannot lay her eggs, unless she has a sustained temperature of 93 degrees. No hotter, no colder. The eggs are suppose to stay warm, because even a single cold night could send the colony flying back to square one. Climate change, a change of global climate, has also affected where bee populations thrive. If a certain area gets too hot for a bee population, they will move further and further away from the said area. If there are no bees to pollinate the greens available, the structure of produce in that area could collapse.
We can’t seem to fathom how important bees are to our daily lives. Bees, especially honey bees, pollinate our crops: cherries, onions, apples, etc. Even if some people don’t eat meat, bees pollinate the food that animals dine on.
In 2013, over 150 bee colonies in Oregon collapsed due to pesticides. With such an alarming (and growing) rate of bee deaths every year, and with every new experiment and/or investigation, humans seem to be the leading cause of the fall of the bees.
Without bees, our entire ecosystem would be in critical risk of failure. In a lot of ways, we rely completely on bees. Not only for pollination, or helping to grow our food, but also carrying the entire ecosystem of all plants and animals on their tiny backs. Without them, one third of all of our produce would be completely gone…forever!
So what can you do to help?
Well, for starters, consider a bee garden. A bee garden is a garden filled with flowers full of nectar and pollen. Not only will you be providing bees with the nutrients and the honey they desperately need, but you, in return, will be rewarded with beautiful flowers to decorate your home.
Perhaps you’re not into gardening? Consider buying local, natural honey. Don’t buy the yellow liquid in the bear shaped bottles. 76% of store honey has had pollen removed from it’s contents. If you really like honey, please think about going to a farmer’s market, or look online to find your local beekeepers who sell honey. This sends a good message to beekeepers about how they take care of their bees. Supporting beekeepers is a good way to support bees and their lives.
In conclusion, all living things should thank bees for being one of the main powerhouses in the ecosystem. If our ecosystem is deprived of bees, we will lose much more than flowers and plants. If we don’t stop thinking about only ourselves, and focus instead on our actions, we could lose so much. Even the slightest change in our ways could be the perfect start to helping bees. If you personally want to know the best way you can help bees in your state, try contacting your local conservation or even contact your local representative. Remember, bees don’t only pollinate flowers, or make honey. They do so much more than that! We can only hope the world will embrace them (well, not literally). Otherwise, we’re pretty much doomed.