In the United States, the largest extinction of honeybees in recorded history occurred in 2022. Nearly 50% of the bee families died, causing great concern among scientists and beekeepers. The parasitic mites Varroa destructor, which infect hives and carry dangerous viruses, were responsible for this extinction. In addition, climate change and the widespread use of pesticides are also having a negative impact on the honeybee population.
Honeybees are more than just insects; they are very important to the global agricultural industry. They pollinate more than 100 crops that humans regularly eat, including nuts, vegetables, berries, citrus fruits and melons. Therefore, the extinction of these insects could lead to serious problems for agriculture and the food industry.
Parasitic mites are the main culprits of bee extinction
According to experts, parasitic mites Varroa destructor are the main culprits of increased honeybee mortality. These mites infect hives and carry many dangerous viruses that can kill an entire colony of bees. Colonies used to be at risk only for significant infestations, such as 60% of the bees, but now even small mite populations of 1% or 2% can cause problems.
Experts at the University of Maryland conducted a study and found that bee colony populations are still relatively stable because beekeepers replenish their hives by finding or buying new queens. But this is an expensive and time-consuming process that greatly affects the state of the industry.
In addition, scientists note that parasitic mites have become more resistant to pesticides, making it more difficult to control them. Therefore, new methods of controlling this pest need to be developed.
Climate change and pesticides are two more factors in bee extinction
In addition to parasitic mites, honeybee populations are negatively affected by climate change and the widespread use of pesticides. Climate change alters the flowering of plants, making pollination difficult. In addition, extreme weather conditions can kill entire colonies of bees.
Pesticides are chemicals that are used to protect plants from pests. But they can also harm bees. Some can kill bees, while others can cause them to become disoriented and memory impaired, which can result in them not being able to return to the hive.
What can I do to keep my honeybee population alive?
Preserving the honeybee population is not just a challenge for scientists and beekeepers, but for all of us. There are several ways to help keep these insects alive:
– Buy products produced using methods that do not harm bees. For example, organic farming products.
– Avoid using pesticides in your gardens and vegetable gardens. Instead, you can use safer methods of plant protection, such as biologicals.
– Become a beekeeper. If you have the opportunity, you can start your own bee colony and help keep their numbers up.
– Support organizations dedicated to protecting honeybees. For example, the Bee Informed Partnership or the Apimondia World Beekeepers Association.
Honeybees play a huge role in our lives, but their numbers are decreasing every year. The main culprits of bee extinction are the parasitic mites Varroa destructor, which infect hives and carry dangerous viruses. In addition, climate change and the widespread use of pesticides also have a negative impact on the honeybee population. To conserve these insects, measures must be taken to protect their numbers by using safer plant protection methods, buying organic farming products and supporting organizations dedicated to protecting honeybees.