By Julianna Munuz ’20
Some people see them as pests, some see them as important. No matter your opinion, bees pollinate 80% of the world’s plants, but they’re on the brink of extinction.
In 2014, honeybees began to die off at an alarming rate, and the population has continuously decreased since. After extensive research and trials to save the bee population, this mysterious plague is now identified as Colony Collapse Disorder. This is caused when nearly all the worker bees die off, either from humans or poisons, and leave the queen bee without another generation of bees to soon be born. Without incoming worker bees, the colony dies out. Since 2014, over 30% of honeybee hives and colonies have gone extinct due to colony collapse disorder.
The largest reason that worker bees never come home to their queen is humans. Certain crop pesticides are designed to kill the furry insects that help the crop grow. Pesticides that kill bees, like Orthene, have become illegal in most countries, but they are still legal across America.
Humans are also a burden to the bee population because they view bees as useless pests. “The most common concern about honeybees is bee stings. Only 0.4% of Americans report an allergy to insect stings in the U.S., and almost none of these are caused by honeybees. In addition, less than 1% of the U.S. population is at risk of systemic reaction to stings by honeybees. Severe reactions from the sting of any one insect in a year are 1 in 5,555,556. The chance that someone will be hit by a car is 59.3% higher,” rports JustFood.org. Out of fear of being stung, humans constantly kill bees for their own peace of mind.
Bees are responsible for many of our favorite foods. When the day bee extinction arises, humans can bid farewell to avocadoes, apples, mangoes, and 90 other kinds of crops that humans eat and love.
As well as swatting bees and killing them with chemicals, global warming also plays a role in the extinction of bees. Due to global warming, flowers now bloom earlier in the year. When honey bees come out of hibernation, flowers have already bloomed and bees have less time to pollinate them. This is yet another way that humans contribute to the death of bees.
Overall, the fate of bees is in the hands of mankind. If humans are too ignorant to change their selfish ways of living, they will lose an alarming amount of crops, and potentially risk extreme famine.