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The Vanishing of the Bees...

 If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals no more man... 

~Albert Einstein

Bee population worldwide has declined by 50% in recent years. Here are some of the reasons for this dreadful loss.

1. The Varroa Mite : Little bigger than a pin head, it has preyed upon Honeybees in Europe for the past thirty years. It activates a lethal virus in bees and is transmitted from bee to bee when it feeds on their blood. Varroa is decimating the bee populations worldwide but is not acting alone in the decline. 

2. Artificial Pheromones: These chemicals are given to bees in areas of high intensification where the honey production is massive. Apiarists trick the bees into thinking there are more larvae in the hive that need feeding so they forage more and in the process pollinate more blossom.

3. Monoculture: Pollen from one crop does not provide a well balanced diet. Malnourished bees are more susceptible to disease and pesticide poisoning. 

4. No Rest: Some bee keepers are tricking their bees out of hives in February when sunlight and temperature are not sufficient. They are also stimulating hives in August, September and October and making the Queens lay more. As a result the Queens become exhausted. 

5. Bee keepers are buying in Queens and bees genetically renowned for their honey production skills: This reduces the gene pool so if a disease hits one bee, the entire colony could be wiped out.

6. Mites/ pests becoming increasingly more resistant: Chemicals used in culling the mite population in the hive may no longer be strong enough to kill the mites. Consequently stronger chemicals are being used which damages the bees.

7. Scientists are trying to engineer a "Super Bee" : This bee will have the qualities of the best Honeybee i.e. the Italien variety that has a gentle nature, good honey production, and a resilience to withstand the varroa mite. However with a genetically engineered "Super Bee", surely it is only a matter of time before it breeds a "Super Parasite"

8. Transporting bees to pollinate over large area : 40 billion bees are needed from all areas of America to help pollinate the millions trees each season in the Californian Central Valley. In California, bee pollination earns the state circa $1.9 billion dollars every year and the same methods of transportation and intensification are used in many other parts of the world. The journey is long and dark and the motion of the lorries means the bees will not sleep. The are also fed on sugary supplements. All these factors will lower a bees immune system and high concentrations of bees in one place mean that the bees are susceptible to illnesses from other sick colonies.  

9. Pesticides: Neonicotinoid Pesticides are made from an artificial type of nicotine that acts as a neurotoxin which attacks bee nervous systems on contact of indigestion. It also messes up the bee's navigational system so they cannot find their way home. 

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