On the importance of securing a future for the existence of native and wild bees
“Save the Bees” is a slogan that we have heard left and right in the last couple of years. The bee, in many ways, has been morphed into a symbol of ecosystems suffering under our destructive modern agricultural practices. This agricultural system is now causing the loss of one of its own most important cornerstones: pollinators that ensure our crops, orchards and flowers blossom anew each year, for which bees play a vital role. The chief trigger for this concern was a series of years around 2006-2013 in the United States as well as Europe in which many bee-hives experienced very high rates of mortality, especially throughout winters, with millions of colonies dying in a short amount of time. In China, some regions had to pollinate crops by hand because their bee-colonies were not able to pollinate sufficiently anymore.
This great bee perishing was titled ‘colony collapse disorder’, or CCD in short. Chief among the causes were infection with Varroa mites that latch onto the bees and suck their blood, and also transmit the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (named after the country it was first discovered in) that further weakens the bees. If not treated fast, this can lead to the colony at some point going into a ‘death-spiral’ in which the weak bees either die in the hive or never make it back. Adding to this, communication breaks down as the IAPV lames the insect’s ability to fly – a key component in bee communication. Other factors that are suspected relate directly to modern agriculture, through the use of pesticides (neonicotinoids especially) and land-use changes that damaged the bees and their natural habitat. Especially the neonicotinoid strain of pesticides produced by agri-chemical giants such as Syngenta came under scrutiny (they denied any wrongdoing, of course.)
Scary, right? Yet the decline of managed honeybees seems to get more attention than the rapid decline of local bee species, and moreover, the genocide-by-replacement of Europeans and our cultures.Continue reading All Hives Matter?