As the bee population of the U.S. is alarmingly declining, beekeepers are striving to keep the pollinators thriving.
In just one year, the bee population in the U.S. dropped by 40 percent. From April 2014 to the same month in 2017, the bee population dropped drastically, without much indication of what could the cause be. Yet, it is not the only insect population that saw decreasing numbers.
According to Gabe Blatt, former president of Cabell-Wayne Beekeepers Association:
“The honey bees are dropping dead. We’re losing way too many bees. It’s pretty much the same thing with all of the pollinators. The butterflies, insects and bumblebee populations are all down”.
While several seasons ago the cause that provoked massive deaths in the U.S. bee population was thought to be “colony collapse disorder”, this time it was proven difficult to pin down one factor.
According to Blatt, possible causes could be the extensive use of often toxic pesticides as well as fungicides in agricultural practices, spanning from industrial crops to residential gardens.
At the same time, the damaged is pinpointed on the decline of pastures, gardens and forests that make way to building projects, destroying the natural habitats in which the bee population is thriving.
Another factor that could be found to be key in the decreasing number of bees across the U.S. is genetics. Heavily relying on a queen-rearing population leads to genetics loss, which in turn leads to massive death rates among the U.S. honey bees.
According to Blatt, who is an experienced beekeeper with more than 20 years in the field, the U.S. managed beehives are currently amounting to approximately 2.7 million. By comparison, at the end of the second world war, there were 5 million managed beehives across the U.S.
Nonetheless, with the understanding of the economic importance that bees hold, the number of beekeepers is on the rise again. Their efforts are spanning the spectrum of bee population conservation.
Some farmers are deliberately and voluntarily including hedgerows in the fields to offer bees foraging areas and expand their habitat. Others benefit from seed packs that ensure pollen plants grow through all environments and types of gardens to offer bees the food needed for their survival.
In order to produce one pound of honey, bees need to pollinate thousands of plants. Not only that, but the further away the plants are from the beehives, the shorter the lifespan of the bees is, due to their wings wearing out.
Many beekeepers are boosting the efforts to keep the U.S. bee population alive. While the loss of population is felt every year by every beekeeper across the country, their efforts are commendable and certainly ensure a more hospitable habitat for the pollinators.
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