Since 2006, beekeepers have been noticing that the populations of their honeybees have been dying off at alarmingly fast rates. This phenomenon has been happening all throughout the country and the world. According to a research team led by Insu Koh at the University of Vermont, California’s Central Valley is one of the few agricultural regions in which there is an worrisome negative correlation between the falling bee supply and the demand for more crop pollination. The decline of the bee population is a great problem that could greatly put California at risk if not addressed properly.
As bees are crucial to the production of the fruits and vegetables that we eat, this rapid decline poses a great risk to the human species. According to University of California Davis, bees pollinate about a third of all of the food that people eat. Wildlife is also affected by the decline because bees are responsible for pollinating wild plants that provide habitat and food for other animals.
There are many different factors contributing to the decline of the bee populations, such as climate change and diseases. However, multiple studies have confirmed that there exists a strong correlation between the use of herbicide and the death of bees.
Tomasz Kiljanek, lead author from the National Veterinary Research Institute in Poland, explained the how herbicides can affect bee populations in a press statement: “Even at very low levels, pesticides can weaken bees’ defense systems, allowing parasites or viruses to kill the colony,” said Kiljanek.
Although herbicides remain a large concern to the survival of bee populations, there are ways in which people can help by making their gardens bee-friendly. Leaving seed balls of clay, wildflower seeds, chili powder, and compost can help to attract bees to gardens. Avoiding treatments on grass and flowers can also help to encourage honey bees to thrive.