By Katie Kraus, Staff Member
To most people, they are pests, buzzing around in the air and bothering everyone. To some others, they are seen as important to the delicate cycle of life. If you didn’t know, I am talking about bees. The honey bee is the top pollinator for flowers and food, executing 80% of all pollination worldwide, and the world would be a very different place if they went extinct. Bees nationwide are attributed to ensuring the growth and development of about 15 billion to the United States’ food supply and is said to produce a third of the nation’s diet.
This would be a huge deal as they are being wiped out, and the bee is facing extinction at an unprecedented rate. It used to be that bees were facing natural threats like invasive species brought to the United States, but today, the biggest threats to these little guys are manmade. Today, the biggest threat to bees are harmful pesticides that are sprayed on fields where the bees gather pollen.
According to the Pesticide Action Network, the pollen the bees are consuming is contaminated with these pesticides and it is killing them in more ways than one. Some bees can die instantly if exposed to too much of these chemicals at one time, or they can die slowly because of the effects of being exposed to these pesticides. Other factors such as drought, habitat destruction, nutrition deficiency, air pollution, global warming, etc. are said have an effect on the bee decline as well.
While this crisis might seem daunting, there are things that people can do to help. Emily Letterle, a sophomore, whose family has their own farm where they keep bees, says, “People at home can make a difference for honey bees too with simple things like switching from toxic weed killers like Roundup, to using vinegar or other organic treatments. You could also look into planting bee or pollinator friendly flowers like sunflower, honeysuckle, or lavender.” There is still hope for the little guys, and all it takes is just one small step to help.