To many people, these pollinators are simply insects that they see in the garden, but these tiny creatures carry out a vital role in keeping food on our plates. Unfortunately, bees are dying and it's because of human activities
In most cases, since there are no dead bees to examine, the theories we are left with are the usual suspects. From killer mites, to fungus, disease, pesticides, cell phone towers, genetically modified crops and the mysterious ‘colony collapse disorder’.
CCD has a devastating effect, with all the worker bees of a colony disappearing without a trace. This is not new news to us, CCD has been documented for years and it is only now within the past decade or so, the cases have increased to alarming levels,
and recently in Spain and across Europe.
A class of pesticide called neonicotinoids has become extremely controversial of late. Neonicotinoids became popular in the late 90s when they replaced older pesticides. Unlike traditional pesticides neonicotinoids were genetically embedded into seeds
before planting and were more efficient and longer lasting. A derivative of nicotine, the pesticide targeted the nervous system of insects and seemed to pass all safety and health standards and soon became widespread.
Today, one quarter of all global pesticide sales is of neonicotinoids which are now not only used in crops but also in gardens. However, over the years with more research poured into the phenomena of the colony collapse disorder, the pesticide has now
emerged as a prime suspect.
In China and Japan pollination by hand is almost the only option left. A couple of years back Australian honeybees meant for pollination accounted for about 80 per cent of imports to Japan, but with mass deaths of hives there is now a shortage even in
the ‘bee import industry’.
Pollination by hand is tedious and slow. Climbing on ladders to reach the flowers with a chicken feather at one end of a stick, pollination by hand will take many more men and many more hours to do what a single bee can do within a fraction of that time.
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