“Bee” Careful!

By Sabrina Solla, Matthew Jones, Benjamin Rabinowitz
SEPT 14, 2018

There are about 16,306 species that are threatened with extinction. One of these endangered species is the bumblebee. Bees help the environment in more ways than meet the eye. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), bees pollinate 80% of our crops and one-third of the food we eat. An abundant amount of crops are insect-pollinated. If they become extinct, there will be a dramatic reduction in the food supply. Foods such as apples, almonds, blueberries, cherries, avocado, and pumpkins will no longer be available . Also a large variety of medicine will no longer be manufactured, since honey is required for processing.

A bee consuming pollen from a flower. Photo Photo:  www.freegreatpicture.com

A factor that currently affects the bees’ extinction is climate change. Climate change causes flowers to either bloom too early or too late which results in bees having fewer food sources. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is another reason why this species is endangered. The most common reason for CCD, bees fleeing from their hives, occurs when Varroa Mites invade. These parasites carry a harmful virus that is toxic to bees. Some chemical products, such as Mite-Away Quick Strips, CheckMite, and Apistan are toxic to varroa mites, but do not affect bees. For those who are not comfortable using chemicals, a more nature-friendly way to get rid of the mites is to use powdered sugar.

On the bright side, according to Dr. Ann Bartuska,  Acting Chief Scientist for the USDA, the Natural Resources Conservation Services has provided land owners, across the U.S., with financial assistance to preserve 30,000 acres where bees tend to thrive. There are also countless opportunities where people can assist within their communities. Chris Baskind, of Mother Nature Network (mnn.com),  suggests planting things that bees like, providing bee habitats and “… [letting] veggies ‘bolt’” are excellent ways to advance the population of bees. Another effective way to help bees, as well as the environment, is by eliminating pesticides. These chemicals are harming the bees in a big way. If a bee tries to get nectar from a plant that has been sprayed with pesticide, it will harm the bee.  Make sure to “bee” cautious with the environment!

Bee farmers making more homes for bees. Photo Photo: www.freegreatpicture.com