Bees are the main group of pollinators of the agricultural ecosystem; almost 80% of the foods we consume every day depend on bees. In the European Union, hives have fallen by over 50% in recent years. In Italy this figure stands at an average of 25% per year, while in the United States at 30%.
We still don’t know the exact reason behind the mass global bee deaths, but the answer probably has something to do with the abuse of chemicals in agriculture and with climate change.
What are the consequences of bee deaths?
- Decline of honey production! Already in recent years, beekeepers have complained about the decline of honey production, while consumption is rapidly increasing. The market is polluted with adulterated honey produced chemically using water and dyes.
- Less food for us! That’s right, bees are responsible for the pollination of hundreds of plant species. Therefore, the death of bees is reflected in agriculture. Many plants that we cultivate would survive even without the bees, however their production would be drastically reduced, thus making them no longer economically efficient.
- less plants and animals! In fact, the death of bees would affect the entire ecosystem of the planet, as many plants would risk extinction. This would also have repercussions on the world of herbivores, which we feed on.
But why are the bees dying?
Diseases, pests, chemicals and environmental aspects are the main factors.
Diseases and pests play an important role. For example, the Varroa Destructor parasite weakens the immune system of the bees, even leading to the death of the colony.
The use of pesticides is a danger for both honeybees and wild bees. In fact, it involves the growth of crops contaminated by pesticides. Consequently the spontaneous flora that grows on the margins of cultivated fields is contaminated, and therefore also the insects that take care of their pollination. Bees are the pollinating insects par excellence, so it is not surprising that in recent years there have been deaths of this species in the vicinity of a large number of crops accumunata from the use of pesticides harmful to this insect.
Finally, the environment is often not a trusted partner. In particular, excessive heat makes it difficult for plants to produce nectar and pollen for bees, thus impoverishing their pollination. Furthermore, disappearance of natural habitats and climate change have a negative impact on the survival of bees and all other pollinating insects.