The Bees Want to Be Free. On Pesticides and Bees.

Close up group of bees on a daisy flower

The bees want to be free. Free from pesticides.

As honey bees work hard pollinating crops, they face exposure to pesticides. Sometimes they are killed immediately. Sometimes they take the pesticide back to the hive. Sometimes their central nervous systems are compromised and they are unable to remember and identify the different nectars they need to survive. Sometimes they cannot find their way home.

Pesticide levels in hives have contributed to Colony Collapse Disorder. This happens when there is a sudden loss of adult bees from the hive. Studies from the University of Maryland have shown a link between chemicals and the loss of bees. They were also able to find a link between the chemicals and the bees inability to fight off parasitic infection, another contributor to Colony Collapse Disorder.

The type of pesticides recognized as being most harmful to bees is the neonicotinoid class. This pesticide is absorbed by the plant. When bees collect the pollen and nectar from plants treated with neonicotinoids, they are particularly sensitive to the effects. Bees may become drawn to plants treated with neonicotinoids, somewhat like a person’s draw to nicotine, harming themselves in the process.

Crops suffer when there are not enough bees to help pollinate them. Yields go down. Farmers lose.

The California almond crops provide 80% of the world’s almonds and rely heavily on honey bees to pollinate them. Loss of bees equals loss of almonds.

Five major fruit crops need honey bees and other natural pollinators to survive. Blueberries, cranberries, almonds, apples, and avocados would not be available without the work of the bees.

Currently there are no laws prohibiting the use of pesticides that are affecting bees negatively. As more research comes to light, perhaps laws will change. Our food supply and our ecosystem depend on our pollinators. The bees want to be free of pesticides.

Sources:  “The Harmful Effect of Pesticides on Honey Bees,” HiveandHoneyapiary.com, accessed 6/29/2015.

Helen Briggs, “Bees ‘get a buzz’ from pesticides”, bbc.com, accessed 6/29/2015.

“Exploring Impact of Pesticides on Bee Colonies,” wsu.edu, accessed 6/29/2015.

“Scientists confirm: Pesticides kill America’s honey bees”, rt.com, accessed 6/29/2015.

About the Author

kara

Kara waxes about the bees, creates and tests recipes with her friend Joyce, and does her best to share what she’s learned and continues to learn about the bees, honey, ingredients we use and more.

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