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Vanishing Bee Syndrome

You may not have heard it yet, but bees are in danger of extinction. Can you imagine a world without bees? Well, it may soon no longer be a figment of your imagination. The health of bees is at serious risk, and the honeybee population could be wiped out as early as in 10 years’ time. You may not think this is a significant problem, but take into consideration that bees are vital for the pollination of around 90 crop species worldwide, and you will begin to see why this is a problem.

In both Europe and the USA Colony Collapse Disorder is taking place rapidly and honeybees have started to die off abruptly and decisively. Millions of bees are abandoning their hives and flying off to die, and without the presence of the queen bee, which is always left behind, the colony cannot survive.

Environmentalists presume that the strange behavior of honeybees is an indication of a looming ecological crisis. Just like animals behave weirdly before an earthquake or other natural disasters, so are the bees mysteriously vanishing. No one is certain as to what exactly why the bees are vanishing, but it could be anything from pesticides and parasites to radio activity and viruses.

Just like humans, bees are prone to illness when they are stressed and run-down. Bees also get viruses which their immune systems can fight, but the problem seems to be that their immune systems have become too weak to fight the latent viruses. Their fragile state of health involves problems like malformations, nervous system problems, and disorientation problems due to behavioural problems. Some bees also struggle to find their way back to their hives after leaving it, and if they do, they are often rejected when they return because the rest of their group fails to recognize them.

Albert Einstein once said that our existence is so inextricably linked to bees that “if the bee disappears off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.”

Luckily, there are a few things we can do help alienate this grave situation. You can grow bee-friendly flowers around your house; bees are particularly attracted to disc-shaped and tall flowers. You can also avoid mowing the lawn too often; after all bees love weeds such as dandelions. Reducing the amount of chemicals, especially pesticides, you use in the garden is important as well. Buying honey produced by local beekeepers is also essential in supporting local bee populations. If you feel daring enough, you could even start your own beekeeping space in your yard.

(This is a post by our new intern Ivelina Dineva)

(Image by michaelaw, stock.xchng)


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