For the last couple of years, bee colonies have been collapsing in North America. From the information that is available these days, it appears that this phenomenon could seriously affect our food supply. It is not just a problem in North America; however, countries all over the world have been reporting bee shortages. This is something that is causing fear and worry.
Bees are extremely important in many crops such as almonds, berries and other fruits and vegetables. Some plants will not produce at all without the help of honeybees. In the United States alone, it is estimated that honeybee pollination activities accomplish 1/4 of the pollination needed for all fruit produced for human consumption. It is an estimated $14 billion worth of work each year. To do all this, bees fly up top 14 kilometers in search of food. That is a lot of hard work
This is now of great concern with food crops already beginning to decline due to the increase in energy crops (those grown for bio-fuel) rather than food. Without pollination from honeybees we could find ourselves in the grip of a worldwide famine, as well as the loss of many plants. On a minor point this would also lead to a worldwide loss of money through crop production since there is no way, at the moment, to pollinate most of these crops by hand or any other mechanism.
There are many theories as to why the honeybees are deisapearing. Some bee specialists say it is possible that the bees are fleeing the colonies because they sense that they themselves are diseased or affected in some way. There are several things blamed for this phenomenon; stress, virus, and exhaustion but it is also now being linked to pesticides and even cell phones. Whatever the reason for the decline of the bees, this is a serious problem. If nothing is done to stop the decline of the bee population we may well find ourselves in the throes of a serious ecologic and economic disaster.
What can we do as a society to...