As a societal phenomenon, the western/wealthy countries advocate their environmental consciousness and take pride from spending ecologically. In spite of their efforts to reduce their footprint, to recycle in order to sustain the biomass, they feel powerless in contemplating the slow degradation of Earth.
After the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (“mad cow”) that decimated massively the cattles in Great-Britain primarily, the H5N1 bird flu virus that proliferated in Hong-Kong, a less perceptible enemy is diminishing the population of bees.
If it doesn’t have any direct incidence on our well-being on the short term, its long term effect is questionnable giving that the survival of our specie is intrinsically tributory to this little symbol of technology of the Apoideas, the Apis Melifera.
Knowing that 3/4 of the worldwide plants, 1/3 of the human food supply, six million people depend viscerally on this uncommon plant-animal relationship, who could have imagined that such little insect performed a vitale role in our societies? Who could have imagined that it had such impact on our economies, our fates? Who could have imagined the magnitude of the damages awaiting us?
Five million of domesticated bees vanished in less than 48 hours without a trace from the surface of Earth : that is? without ambiguity the problem the bee-keepers and the scientists are facing, have to solve, to defuse. The CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) is the explanation to their brutal hives disaffection. As the scientific community delves into finding the cause, they keep on banging their heads against the walls.
Whatever searches demonstrate : presence of white pockets in their abdomens asserting of their non digestion, growth of fungi in their tissues, existence of forty different chemicals in the analysis of their pollen, malnutrition linked to single crop diets (due to human forced pollination)… They all concord and conclude to the weaknessing of their immune system.
Pesticides are undoubtedly the key suspect in the investigations. French researchers support the theory by confirming that bees thrive in cities (where trees and flowers are not showered with pesticides). If it is so, how can we explain the desertion of hives in organic hives, too?
Many questions are in suspense, eager to be elucidated. Why do bees fail to return to their hives?? As an organizational structure maybe going back to the hive means imprisonment? Why humans be the only? ones to aspire to freedom? Freedom of gathering pollen and nectar from all type of flowers opposed to exclusively one? Couldn’t they have this intelligence? Maybe it’s a natural order? Is their ability to learn affected or do they leave to avoid to infect the whole colony? Maybe their death is a conjecture! What if it was the end of their domestication? Why only adults die? Is it from a chemical or nutritional origin? Is it a virus or a neurotoxin? What if, it was simply a natural extinction of the specie? How many other species die without our awareness? And as I said precedently what if they were not dying? What if wild life has more temptation than the domesticated one?
The haze obviously still floats over the scientists’ orbit. I understand their frustration while challenging the probability of a problem impossible to thwart.
The stakes are high, the world depends on bees.
Six million people cover the seven continents. With the constant increase of the demand, production had to adapt responding by pressuring agriculture to augment extensively the superficie of arable exploitations, to develop intensive methods of output.
Rented by farmers, hives of bees travel by trucks to Florida (for oranges), to Maine (for bilberries), to California (for its almonds) to transfer pollen from the anther of a flower to the stigma of the same or another flower. The process is called pollination. In this harmless (at first sight) exchange, the bee participates as the active element for fecondation. As a fair retribution, the plants reward them by a sugary liquid called nectar.
Thousands of hectares of lands rely on bees to perform a natural role for an unatural scale. Californian almonds, for instance, reperesenting 80% of the international market require 1,2 million colonies to do the job! Imagine yourself only eating pizzas or broccoli! Can’t human forced pollination be one the? major sources of bees decline? We, late, understood that their dance was their mean of communication.? So therefore bees have no more secrets to reveal us? I wish Nature was that simple!? As a certainty, our ecosystem is fragile!
With the reduction of bees, economic sectors directly involve in bees activity experience already losses in pollination contracts, in honey productions. Other industries like the ice-cream feels already the repercussions.
Unless scientists find the harm, farmers, at the example of the southern Sichuan (China), will resort, as they did for their pear flowers to blossom, to hand pollination. Nature, now, needs a helping hand! What is feasable for a local production would be an Herculean task for a higher scale!
At a yearly rhythm of 30% of death rate, within 3 to 4 years bee-keepers will disappear (it may not be a bad future!). If bees don’t make the headlines now, believe me in 2035, date of their total extinction, they will make it!
On another hand, the death of domesticated bees doesn’t signify their extinction, does it?