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HOW TO SAVE BEES FROM EXTINCTION

 

“If the bees disappear off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” That line is usually attributed to Einstein. Now he may not actually say it…but it might be true. 90% of the world’s major crops are pollinated with the help of bees. Without bees act like pollinators our crops cannot survive naturally.

Believe it or not, you have a bee to thank for one for every three bite of food you eat. But we have a problem, a big problem. Right now bees are dying in massive numbers. Just over the past decade, one-third of UK’s bee population has disappeared and 24% of Europe’s bee are now threatened with extinction. Why is the bee population declining in such great number?

Well, a variety of factors are at play such as pesticides, drought, habitat destruction, nutrition deficit, air pollution, global warming and more. In other words, it’s all our fault! Big chemical companies are manufacturing chemical pesticides, herbicides to protect our crops from insects and pests. But these same chemicals, which are supposed to protect our crops, are destroying bees. Which, ironically enough, could spell the doom of the plants, these substances are supposed to protect.

Of particular concern is the class of pesticides called neonicotinoids or “neonics.”. The EU recently extended its ban on the agricultural use of neonics in acknowledgement of the harm they cause to bees. This ban could save bee in Europe, however the same chemical are still found in common garden pesticides. So those of you with home gardens may want to take a closer look at the chemicals in your pesticides! Another major factor threatening honey bees in the varroa mite (Varroa Destructor), this very small, round mite is the terror for honey bees and it can destroy entire colonies if left alone. A varroa mite outbreak can not only have devastating economic impacts for beekeeper, it can also result in colony collapse disorder (CCD). With CCD a majority of worker bees in a colony suddenly die overnight, leaving behind the queen and essentially collapsing or breaking up the colony. Scientists may have found a way to counter some threats bees face. A mushroom extract fed to honey bees greatly reduces the levels of killers viruses in bees. In field trials, colonies fed mycelium extract from amadou and reishi fungi showed a 79-fold reduction in deformed wing virus and a 45000-fold reduction in Lake Sinai virus compared to control colonies. Researchers hope that these extracts may help cure bees from multiples viruses.

There are lots of thing that you can do individually to help save the world’s bees, and you don’t have to be a beekeeper to do them. If you want to do for bit to saving bees, you could start by destroying your lawn. You see, yards covered by pristine green grass are bad news for wild bees. They want to live among the wild plants with lots of flowers, so well-manicured lawn is like a barren, dry dessert to them. Bees need to eat, so fill the garden with flowering plants that are rich in pollen and nectar. Do not use any pesticides, fungicides or herbicides on plant or in your garden. Plants get contaminated and the product will likely reach the bees and kill them and make sure the plants that you are buying are not pre-treated with neonicotinoids pesticides. Commit to supporting local bee colonies by purchasing honey directly from your local beekeepers. Time is running out for bee populations and the safety and security of the world’s food supply hinged on our ability to find means to improve pollinator health.

Vocabulary:

  • Pollinate: (verb) – /ˈpɑl·əˌneɪt/: to carry pollen from a male part of a flower to the female part of another flower of the same type
  • Pesticide: (noun) – /ˈpes.tɪ.saɪd/: a chemical substance used to kill harmful insects, small animals, wild plants
  • Drought: (noun) – /draʊt/: a long period when there is little or no rain
  • Habitat: (noun) – /ˈhæb.ɪ.tæt/:  the natural environment in which an animal or plant usually lives
  • Herbicide: (noun) – /ˈhɜː.bɪ.saɪd/: a chemical that is used to destroy plants, especially weeds
  • Colony: (noun) – /ˈkɒl.ə.ni/: a group of animals, insects, or plants of the same type that live together
  • Pristine: (adj) – /ˈprɪs.tiːn/: new or almost new, and in very good condition:
  • Pollen: (noun) – /ˈpɒl.ən/: a powder, produced by the male part of a flower, that causes the female part of the same type of flower to produce seeds. It is carried by insects or the wind.
  • Nectar: (noun) – /ˈnek.tər/: a sweet liquid produced by flowers and collected by bees and other insects:

Useful phrases

  • Major crops
  • In massive numbers

 

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