Buzz... Buzz... who’s there? It’s not the bees; they’re dying. In a study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it was documented that roughly half a million beehive colonies die off every five years. These observations were made beginning in 1940.
This is happening because greenhouse gases have been stored in our atmosphere and trap the heat, instead of letting it out into space. This happens since humans leave huge carbon footprints, which causes dangerous gases to gather in the atmosphere.
Over thousands of years, we have abused the Earth and put dangerous chemicals into the air, which is finally coming back to harm us. The heat that has been trapped in the atmosphere is reflecting into the air and being absorbed by the land, causing warmer areas of the planet. When it’s warmer outside the bees begin to lay their eggs and protect their queen bee. It must be warm enough outside to protect the queen and the larvae. If a cold night comes in spring it could wipe out the new eggs. If they are wiped out then the colony will suffer a great loss and will have to continue to work to rebuild their numbers.
Why should you care, right? These are just bees, they don’t affect you in any way. That is wrong. The bees oversee pollinating 30 percent of our world’s crops and 90 percent of the wildflowers around the world. Without them we lose most of our valuable food sources. Plants have their roots deep in the ground, since the roots won’t be as damaged by a cold night, they aren’t as affected. But the bees must keep attending to their colony instead of pollinating these plants, causing a die-off.
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This is bad news for people as well. Last year our human population grew 1.1 percent, and that trend grows every single year. With the decline in food production due to the die-off of the bees, we won’t be able to find sufficient food for that 1.1 percent of people who are gradually coming into this world.
Now you can see why we need to make adjustments. There are several initiatives we can take to help the bees. Personally, I have taken a huge step at my own house. I have installed a beehive on my hillside to help repopulate the bees. Since I live on a mountain the bees will have a lot of flowers and agriculture to help sustain.
A small step you can take is planting flowers around your house to bring the bees to your area. Cheerios and General Mills distribute information about the bees and fund research to help save them. After learning about this I also took advantage of the Cheerios cause to donate 500 wildflower seeds to anyone who has signed up to save the bees. They set a goal of giving away 100 million seeds and exceeded their goal by giving away 1.5 billion seeds. This means a lot of people are taking an initiative to help save the bees. By taking these steps, we could help save the bees, and ourselves.
Aspen Jarvis is a freshman at Boise State University studying environmental studies.