Daniel Halliday
May 20 · Last update 4 days ago.
What is causing declining world bee populations?
Bees inhabit every continent except Antarctica and bee pollination is important ecologically and economically, however bees have been under threat in recent years. Declining bee populations pose a great risk to global agriculture, but what is causing this threat to bees and what can be done about it? May 20th – Happy World Bee Day un.org/en/events/beeday
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One instance of a much larger problem
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Varroa mite
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Colony collapse disorder
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One instance of a much larger problem

Human activity currently poses the greatest risk to biodiversity, it’s not just pollinating bees but birds, bats and butterflies too, and this risk to agriculture is more pronounced due to a growing world population and growing economies that place higher and higher demands on the environment. As research into colony collapse and increasing innovation in intensive farming and apiculture continue, policymakers and scientists should also be doing more to consider how human population can be managed to better address the detrimental effect an unchecked human population growth is having on natural environments, especially in regard to biodiversity. And likewise more restrictions need to be placed on human activity, as research and development help in creating more harmonious human systems that are not at odds with the very environment we are dependent on, and this may involve addressing the big unanswered question of overpopulation.

overpopulation-project.com/resources/overpopulation-and-biodiversity theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/26/widespread-losses-of-pollinating-insects-revealed-across-britain theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/30/humanity-wiped-out-animals-since-1970-major-report-finds

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Varroa mite

The varroa mite has been put forward as one of the main causes of colony collapse disorder, as it itself weakens the bees immune system while also being a common vector for at least 5 debilitating bee viruses, further threatening bee colonies with immunodeficiency, disease and eventual collapse. But it is clear from the history of the varroa mite that human contact and the movement of western honey bee colonies into and out of Asia in the 1940s was the initial event that caused this parasite to quickly spread around the world. As research continues in to declining bee populations, stricter laws on need to be imposed, governing the movement of people and animals in order to try and control issues of widespread animal disease epidemics.

beekeep.info/a-treatise-on-modern-honey-bee-management/managing-diseases-and-pests/varroa-short-history

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Colony collapse disorder

There have been numerous instances of bee population decline in the many thousands of years in the history of beekeeping, but the various names were replaced with colony collapse disorder (CCD) in the early 21st century to describe the varied and complex nature of bee hive collapse scenarios. Although CCD is still not fully understood, factors such as pathogens, parasites, exposure to pesticides, lack of genetic variation, immunodeficiency, loss of habitat, malnutrition, electromagnetic radiation and changes in beekeeping techniques play an interconnected role in causing widespread collapse of bee colonies. While documentation of extensive colony collapse remains confined to the United States and Europe decline of certain species have been noted elsewhere, and in recent years seasonal losses of bee populations have been as high as 50% in many areas. When factoring in the reliance of agriculture on bee pollination figures like these losses become extremely worrying and carry a significant economic danger also.

e360.yale.edu/features/declining_bee_populations_pose_a_threat_to_global_agriculture

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