Bee decline will have ‘huge health impact’ as food supply suffers
BEE END IS NIGH: Insect decline could wipe out humans, experts fear
SOMETHING is killing all the #bees – and the implications for humanity are seriously grave.
#Honey bees and wild bees are fighting for survival, but it’s a losing battle and their numbers are plummeting.Recent winters have colonies dying off at rates as high as 53% in Europe and 40% in America, Greenpeace data shows.And with up to 75% of human crops being pollinated by the flying insects, the food we depend on for survival is at risk.
“We need to replace these nutrients. It will have a huge health impact.”
Professor Mark Brown
For honey bees, the decline is being driven by a blood-sucking parasite called the #Varroa destructor which is known to spread viruses.
While loss of habitats is blamed for the danger to wild bees, with more and more of the countryside being stripped of wild flowers and developed.
Now experts are warning of “a huge health impact” as the falling numbers hit our harvests and start driving down the food supply.
Professor Mark Brown of Royal Holloway, University of London, told Daily Star Online about the devastating impact we face.
He said: “When the population decreases it effects the crops they #pollinate – these give us lots of our nutrients and vitamins, like vitamin A.”When these wild insects go down we get a #pollination deficit. The worst case scenario is if they all disappear and we would be dead in three years.”That won’t happen, but we will need to find ways to replace these nutrients and it will have a huge health impact.”Every tomato that we eat is pollinated by bees. The same is true of apples and lots of fruit.”
As is so often the case, the first and worst effected would be the world’s poorest.Mark said: “Rich western countries will find a way round it but the poor countries will suffer the most.”In China some farms in the past used pesticide to wipe out all the insects but kept out the pollinators too.”Now people do all the pollinating by hand by climbing up to every single flower. It’s hugely expensive.” Steps are being taken to ward off the threat, but it’s too early to tell if we can win the fight.Professor Brown said: “I would say for honey bees we are still in the midst of it. Nothing seems to be improving dramatically at the moment.”For wild bees it’s really difficult. We might be at the point where we are turning the corner. We know what kind of interventions can enhance wild #bee populations.”But all of this happens amid climate change because as the climate changes, what crops we grow will change. We don’t know how it’s going to have a knock-on effect. It’s really difficult to predict.”