The Disappearance of the Honey Bee

Byline: Marie Thomas

(photo courtesy of Discovery Education

Hello everyone! Today I’m joined by my co-apprentice, Andrea Hickman, to let you know about the mass disappearance of honey bees since 2006! Andrea had a few questions about honey bees and I was glad to answer!

A: Why are honey bees disappearing?
M: I’m glad you asked, Andrea, I suppose this is why I even wrote this blog post at all. There is not just one reason for the disappearance, and many scientists who have looked into this cannot come up with a single answer because no single cause seems to be common in all events; however there are intertwined factors: some cited a parasitic mite, multiple viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition, genetics, habitat loss, pesticides, and extreme weather and temperature.

A: Isn’t there a famous quote by Albert Einstein about honey bees?
M: There is! And actually it is a quote about the symbiotic relationship of all life on the planet. Albert Einstein said, “If honey bees become extinct, human society will follow in four years.” So, to make sure the words of Einstein do not come true, let’s join together and save the honey bees!! If you love honey bees (and ice cream!) visit this website for ideas about how you can help: http://www.helpthehoneybees.com.

A: Why are honey bees so important?
M: Bees, especially honey bees, are very important in pollinating crops. About one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honey bee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination. If bees continue to die off so would the crops they support and from that would ensue major economic disruption and possibly famine.

A: So you said extreme weather and temperature is a factor of the disappearing honey bees, does this mean it’s from Global Warming?
M: Scientists have also considered Global Warming as a problem. The growth of pathogens such as mites, viruses and fungi are known to take a toll, and the unusual hot and cold weather may be hurting the bees since they are used to a more consistent weather pattern.

A: What can we do to help?
M: This is a great question! So everyone listen up. You should either cut back or even better, stop using pesticides and fertilizers. If you keep using fertilizers, try to switch to a natural one. Keep a garden! Bees need to pollinate! Help plant flowers in other places. Long urban sprawls are a threat to bees, so help by volunteering to plant wild flowers!

Lots of people are figuring out ways to help. Here’s a song and dance, created by students, that is helping to spread the word:

You’re invited to post your own piece in our Comments!

If you are fascinated by this mystery, here are some other resources you can buzz over to and find out more:
Bees in Danger video
How Stuff Works article
Stuff You Should Know podcast

1 comment… add one

  • Astrid May 30, 2013, 2:25 pm

    “If honey bees become extinct, human society will follow in four years.” I wonder what made Einstein think that…

    Reply

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