The dwindling bee populations across the globe has had scientists confused for years. The thing is, bees have been dying off in alarming numbers in recent decades, which is bad news for the health of the planet and those who dwell in it — us.
Bees, being pollinators, are the ones responsible for the production of various crops. Without them, the modern food system would collapse affecting billions of people around the world. One driving factor for the loss of bees is exposure to pesticides, which improve the production of food but unfortunately, are detrimental to the health of bees.
However, a team of researchers may seem to have found the answer: probiotics.
Beneficial Bacteria Helps Boost Bees’ Immune Systems
A new study from Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University in Canada has found a specific strain of probiotics that could possibly help boost the immune system of bees to combat the effects of chemicals and make them less susceptible to mite infestation.
Similar to the rest of the world, Canada is most reliant on bees for crop production, pollinating more than 80% of crops. However, Canadian bee keepers have been left alarmed over the abnormally high number of bee deaths. According to the government of Ontario, around 80% of dead bees have been tested positive for residue of pesticide.
In the study, researches administered a strain of probiotic called lactobacilli in fruit flies, which are then exposed to a similar amount of pesticides as honey bees. The result showed that there was an increase of survival rate among fruit flies compared to those who have not received the probiotic.
What’s more, the study also noted that administering lactobacilli would be easy by using pollen patties, which are already a common tool in apiaries to help support the health of bees. One good example is BeesVita Plus from Healthy Bees LLC, which is sold in pre-packaged patties.
Protecting and Saving Bees
There is hope for bees after all. Everyday, scientists and researches come up with ways in order to preserve the population of bees. It’s simple math really — without bees, there will be food chaos. It will not only affect human life as we know it — other animals will suffer too.
A regular person wouldn’t have access to probiotics to be administered to a huge number of bees, but there are things you can do to support bees and their important job.
One is sustain a garden, one which will benefit bees. This means that there should be less urban-scaping and more natural habitat for bees. Consider planting some plants that bees are known to forage, such as echinacea, alfalfa, clover, yarrow, lavender, and oregano.
You can also start supporting your local apiaries and bee keepers by buying their products for them to come up with enough resources to raise healthy bees.
Buying organic produce will also help bees, since local farming does not make use of chemicals to enhance the growth of crops and other plants. Whenever you can, buy and support organic food and farming.
It’s also essential to be aware of the crucial role of bees and what their declining population means for all of us. You can start educating your friends, neighbors, family, and the young ones in the community how pollinators help produce the food that we mostly consume today.
It’s good that there are effort being launched to sustain and conserve bee life, as their loss would mean chaos at a global scale. If you’re keen, you can also learn the craft of bee keeping. It’s both a hobby and a job that will not only benefit you, but the whole world as well.