The worrying decline in the number of bees has been reported for several years now. It is still a worry today now as shown by recent Telegraph and Guardian reports.
Back in 2007 when talking to the Telegraph Ben Darvill, co-founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said “This year, right now, it feels very bleak, …. It’s urgent and we need to do something about it now.” It seems though that ‘something’ has not been done and that bee numbers are still worryingly low. Even in 2007 the number of bees in the UK had dropped by 60% since 1970.
The rate of decline may have slowed recently but is still above normal natural levels.
Bees aren’t just some sort of insect that buzzes around making the honey that a few of us eat. They are responsible for pollinating many flowering crops we rely on as food. This includes apples, pears, nuts, tomatoes, peas, runner beans, broad beans, cucumbers, many types of berries as well as the more exotic like avocados and kiwi fruit.
Albert Einstein was moved to say: "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."
There have been many theories put forward to explain this decline, from climate change to mobile phone use to reduced plant diversity. The latest, as reported in the Guardian, is that it may be down to a cocktail of chemicals. This mix is also affecting moth and hoverfly populations not just the bees. But the consensus is that whatever is causing it is manmade.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) also has other consequences. Bee keepers in Germany have resorted to fitting GPS trackers to their hives as there has been a marked increase in hive thefts.
Let’s hope the cause for CCD is identified and eradicated quickly. Forget credit crunches, bank crises and recessions. Bees are far more important to the future of the human race than all the money in the world.