You are more likely to get struck by lightening 72 times than die from a bee sting. However, if you are a Honeybee there is a 30% chance you will die before winter.
Bee stings may hurt but its no comparison to how much pain we humans have caused the bee population. Through a combination of civilisation, pesticide use and parasites the honeybee population has been in decline since the late 90’s. Beekeepers in the US and parts of Europe are currently experiencing colony loses of up to 60 percent each season. This phenomenon is known as Colony Collapse Disorder and results in worker bees abandoning hives and their queen.
Lets talk about the humans and the bees
Honey bees have been around for more than 100 million years feeding on nectar, making honey and spreading pollen. Humans and bees have had a deep relationship since the times of our ancestors. Cave paintings in Spain dating back 8,000 years display figures of people climbing great heights to reach wild hives and taste their honey.
In Egypt, hieroglyphics that date back to 3000BC depict the symbolic belief behind honey as a sacred gift from the gods. These images also show the first evidence of bee domestication and honey harvesting. Since then honeybees have been exported around the world and exploited for honey, wax, pollination purposes and even their royal jelly.
But this is the least of their worries! The modern farming practices of mass agriculture use insecticides to produce crops more efficiently. Many of these pesticides contain a dangerous chemical known as neonicotinoids, which are deadly for bees. These toxic insecticides decrease the bees foraging efficiency making it difficult for the bee to navigate home. Unfortunately as many farmers hire commercial honeybee’s to pollinate their infested crops the bees suffer and become weak or die.
But their problems are still not over! On top of this, as civilisation expands wild bee habitat is taken for agriculture, housing and infrastructure. Honeybees must travel vast distances to find enough nectar to support their colony. This places major strain on the bee population and it is directly related to each one of us… the space we take for our homes, roads and cities impacts the lives of all pollinators.
So lets give a little back to the bees! By simply planting pesticide-free bee friendly flowers we can all do out part to ensure these amazing pollinators have nutritious nectar and a safe place to thrive.
Find out how to beautify your backyard, balcony or maybe the nearest sidewalk here.