By now, those who have been following the decline of the bee population know the culprit. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is devastating as it is sudden, killing off hives so fast that scientists previously had a hard time pointing out the exact cause.
The plummeting populations of bees had been blamed on several explanations, from radiation to global warming. However, it came to light that pest infestation, agricultural chemicals, and farming techniques are a deadly combination that resulted in the lethal situation of honeybees.
Solving this issue will require a huge adjustment in terms of what farmers are spraying on their fields, and yet we don’t have a choice. We must solve the problem the soonest we can because without bees the modern food system will most certainly fail.
Local Farmer: ‘Modern Farming is Killing off Bees’
According to Alex Tuchman, program director and farm manager for Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary in Floyd, VA, bees are in crisis, and that the whole world must address this crisis.
“Less than five decades back, there was no need for a sanctuary,” Tuchman said. “These days, we need to place them in sanctuaries so they can regain their strength and heal.”
Spikenard Farm is the first known sanctuary in the world that addresses the bee crisis. Bee colonies have been dying at an unnaturally high rate. In fact, 44 percent of America’s honeybees were wiped out in 2017.
Since honeybees are considered the primary pollinators, the media had been putting a lot of attention on them. However, Tuchman said that native bees are in danger, as well, and, in fact, are more vulnerable than honeybees.
Honey is Best Harvested in Spring
As opposed to the usual practice of most beekeepers where they harvest in fall, Spikenard harvests honey in spring. According to Tuchman, we should consider the fact that bees need honey as well in order to survive rain, drought, or winter when virtually nothing is in bloom or they can’t get out of the hive.
Bees need honey to survive, so instead of harvesting honey in the fall, beekeepers should when until flowers bloom in spring. This is the time when flowers are abundant with nectar and that bees no longer need reserves of honey.
While harvesting honey is important so humans can consume it, we all should be reminded that the bee needs the honey first.
A World with Healthy Bees
Going back to CCD, what’s interesting about it is that in recent years, scientists have claimed that the phenomenon isn’t caused by a particular fungus or virus. Upon checking surviving bees, they found almost all known bee viruses in them, a clear sign that our pollinators’ immune system has collapsed.
Populations of commercial honeybees appear to be in a state of stress to the point that their natural immune systems cannot simply fight back. This is apparently caused by commercial agriculture practices such as genetically modified crops, monoculture, pesticide use, and the way bees are commercially raised.
While most people think that beekeeping is natural, scientists debate that beekeeping has become too industrialized. The use of pesticides and antibiotics as well as transferring the location of bees in long distances all contribute to bee stress.
It is of utmost importance to revert to a more diverse and natural way of farming and beekeeping, and only use organic products. It’s a good thing that some organic farms continue to push for more forage and use organic supplementation like BeesVita Plus from makers Healthy Bees LLC to ward off diseases and parasitism.
People should always choose organic whenever possible and make the right steps toward better local agriculture.