Bees of immeasurable value
"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."
- Albert Einstein
Bees visit and pollinate plants. Their job is of immeasurable value for both animals and mankind.
Honey bees are necessary to maintain the food supply for humans. They pollinate vegetables like leak, cabbage and onions. Greenhouse growers use bees in the cultivation of bell peppers, cucumbers and zucchini. Furthermore, they are indispensable for the growth of apples, pears, cherries, prunes, berries, sunflowers, almond trees and important fodder crops like corn, alfalfa and soy.
Bees are also one of the most reliable bio-indicators regarding the condition of the landscape. They are mainly used to measure the concentration of heavy metals in environment.
Massive amount of bee deaths
In recent years, we have noticed an alarming descent in the number of bees, also known as colony collapse disorder. This can be attributed to the following factors:
Bees are very sensitive to unnatural influences, such as the use of pesticides and fungicides. These treatment agents are becoming more and more refined and have a disastrous effect on the bee. After visiting a treated flower, bees lose their power of orientation. Because of this, they cannot find their way back to the beehive, causing them to eventually die.
A second, natural malefactor is the varroa mite (Varroa Destructor). This is a parasite that lives off of honey bees to survive, causing the bee to become significantly weaker and shortening their life by half. Strikingly, bees living in artificial hives are mainly affected by this parasite. Because of the similar build and biological makeup of bees and mites, combating the varroa mite with chemicals is very difficult. Chemical products that will effectively kill the mite, will also harm (if not kill) the bee. However, icing sugar proves to be a possible control method.
- A decrease in large pieces of pristine landscape and the impoverishment of biodiversity are also an important cause. Bees weaken due to a unilateral diet.