According to John Schwartz from the New York Times, plants that depend on pollination make up 35 percent of global crops with a value of $577 billion a year. Agriculture creates millions of jobs worldwide and the bees help keep those plants alive and growing.
Unfortunately, honeybees are slowly decreasing in population size. According to Alan Blinder from the New York Times, one of the reasons for the decrease is a pesticide intended for Zika mosquitos.
For example, the mosquito pesticide used in Summerville, South Carolina, killed over two million bees in Juanita Stanley’s apiary (Blinder New York Times). This pesticide has been used in the United States for over 50 years and is common for mosquito control. However, federal officials have said it could harm honeybees.
According to Blinder, killing the honeybees leads to death tolls of many other non-honeybee pollinators too, these populations take a long time to recover. All pollinators could be harmed because of the pesticides being sprayed on our environment.
Two chemicals combined have resulted in reducing bee reproduction. The two chemicals are banned in some European countries but still used in the United States (Bromwich New York Times).
Thiamethoxan and clothiandin, two chemicals from a neonicotinoid family create an insecticide that reduces living sperm, also known as drones, by 40 percent (Bromwich New York Times).
According to Jonah Engel Bromwich from the New York Times, the insecticide is shown to harm the health of individual bees and reproductive ability of female insects.
Male bees subjected to the chemicals have 39 percent fewer living sperm on average than bees that weren’t exposed (Bromwich New York Times). Cutting off the males’ sperm count cuts off reproduction from the females.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced that risk assessments would be released for thiamethoxan and clothiandin. This will help warn beekeepers of the danger the insecticide causes for honeybees.
According to Bromwich, beekeepers in the United States have lost 44 percent of their honeybee colonies from April 2015-April 2016. This loss was greater than found in 2014-2015, which was a loss of 40.6 percent of colonies.
The effects of pesticides are only one culprit, among several others, in the periodic declines of honeybees. A climate change is also affecting the bees in a negative way.
Specifically, the drought in California has been significantly affecting the bee population. This is known as a serious issue called Colony Collapse Disorder. The bees have been declining because of the droughts.
According to Amy Quinton in her article “Bees Feeling Effects of California Drought,” the California hillsides, which used to be full of plant life, are now completely bare. This is forcing beekeepers to supplement the bees’ natural diet.
Although beekeepers are feeding the bees, the diet doesn’t match the nutrients that are in pollen. Basically, the bees are malnourished without the proper nutrients.
For example, beekeeper Orin Johnson, produces and sells honey. A few years ago he would make 100 to 120 pounds of honey, but now he can only produce 40 pounds of honey (Quinton).
The only nice types of bees are slowly deteriorating because of harmful insecticides and climate change.