covering our community

The disappearing bee

Photo by Kate Stringer
Colonial Collapse Disorder was first reported in 2006. New research indicates that the disappearance of bees is linked to the use of pesticides on crops

They terrorize you as you lay out on the Academic quad on a rare sunny day. The very sound of their buzzing is enough to make anyone from a body builder to a five year old girl cripple in hysterics. They are also responsible for one-third of the food you eat.

Honeybees are a highly undervalued component of the American food system, so undervalued that most people aren’t aware of the fact that they are rapidly disappearing. Colonial Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the term used to describe a trend that started in 2006 in which many bees stopped returning to their hives, causing many colonies to die out, according to the EPA.

While there are many theories as to why the bees are disappearing, one of the most prominent ones reported by National Geographic  is pesticides.

Pesticides are used ruthlessly in conventional farming to keep crops pest free. While much research has proven the negative effects of pesticides on the human body, new research now points to the damage pesticides have on the guardians of our food: bees.

The Journal of Experimental Biology published a report in February on their research of pesticides and their effect on honeybees. Scientists found that exposure to pesticides affects bees’ memories and ability to learn, two things that are very important in the process of pollination.

It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the destruction of creatures as small and irritating as bees. But when these small insects are the key to our survival, we don’t have a choice. The use of pesticides has to end, if not for the health of our bodies, but for the health of the bees. Because without the bees, the American food industry won’t have any people to profit from.

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