Humans have had a relationship with bees for over 40,000 years, whether it was a beneficial or a nettlesome one. From bee-keeping to honey collecting, humans have benefited from the presence of bees. However, during the past few years, the bee population has been on the decline. With a 44% decrease in U.S. bee colonies in 2016 and a 8% decrease of the total bee population in the U.S., honey bee populations have become a topic of concern.
Aiding in this decline, are pesticides. The Zika virus has been a worry for many these past few years, but the pesticides used against mosquitoes are not only killing them, but other unharmful insects, like the honey bee. Millions of bees have been accidentally killed by Zika virus pesticides, contributing to the steady decline of the population. What is the best way to prevent this you may ask? Knowledge. Many do not know the effects that pesticides might have on other insects besides the targeted pest. Make sure you know all insects that call your backyard home before you implement a plan of treatment.
Some may be rejoiced to hear the news of a declining bee population. Many people have fallen victim to a bee sting at least once in their lifetime, and about 2 million people in the U.S. are allergic to bee stings. However, what people don’t realize is that without these buzzing pests, we would lose a lot of our diet, according to Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the President of the Bee Informed Partnership. The honey bee is actually the only known insect that produces food that people consume.
The bumble bee can pollinate over 75 percent of crops and flowering plants and can pollinate between 50 to 100 flowers per pollinating trip. Some may wonder, how does the pollination process actually work? Well, this occurs when a pollen sac from one flower sticks to a honey bee’s leg and is transferred to another plant. In order the honey bee to fertilize the plant, the pollen within the sac spills out when the bee lands on the plant. To learn more about the pollination process, check out this article.