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Silence of the Bees

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People everywhere rely on the environment to provide for them, to keep them fed. How can the environment provide for us if we don’t give back; even worse destroy it? Pesticides were meant to be a great idea, hyped up in the 60’s as a way to stop world hunger. Its now 50 years later and people are still going hungry, and the crops have grown worse. This effects not only us but the other creatures too. After conversations with beekeepers and much research I found that, bees rely on flowers and budding crops to keep their colonies living and their species thriving. Pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids, are harmful to them. Bee populations have decreased rapidly throughout the world. In turn decreasing their pollination, this affects our farming. It is a vicious cycle cause by neonicotinoids, and it needs to stop.

French scientists have conducted experiments on neonicotinoids’ effect on bees. The scientist bug tracking devices in the bees then fed them a mixture of sugar, water and neonicotinoids. The bees were moved a half mile away from their hive and released. Using their tracking devices they monitored how many bees arrived back at their hive. When they are near their home the neonicotinoid fed bees are 10% less likely to make it home than the average bee. The number of lost bees increases to 21% when in an unfamiliar place. Losing that many bees can cause a hive’s population to drop by at least 2/3.

British scientists lead their own experiment on neonicotinoid and their effect on a hive’s ability to produce a queen bee. These scientists gave 50 colonies of bees a concoction of sugar, water and neonicotinoid. They also monitored 25 colonies of bees fed only sugar water. At the end of the year all the bumblebees were dead except for a few queen bees. The neonicotinoid colonies produced 85% less queen bees which means 85% less hives.

Due to these, and other scientific discoveries European Food Safety Authority have deemed neonicotinoids to be a unacceptable danger to bees who feed on flowering crops. This has prompted Europe, as a whole, to consider banning neonicotinoids. Some stores in the UK have already pulled all products containing neonicotinoids off their shelves.

Many believe that the drop in bee populations is due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), but this only occurs in honeybee colonies. Colony collapse disorder cause 1/2 the honeybee population to drop without affecting any other types of bees. Even though it is CCD that caused the collapse, on the USDA website for CCD their recommendation to the public is to stop pesticide use.

It is known that 9.5% of the food humans need worldwide is dependent upon pollinators like bees. I am scared for future generations worldwide ; world hunger is already a major issue, a large decrease in food is a frightening prospect. Research into fixing the after effects of neonicotinoids on bees and ending the use of neonicotinoids should begin immediately.



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