Are Bees in Danger?
Between April 2016 and April 2017, American beekeepers saw a 33% decrease in honeybee colonies. While this decline is less than it was in previous years (between 2012 and 2013, near half of the nation’s bee colonies disappear), it’s still a troubling number. This decade-long “die off” could mean dire consequences for American agriculture.
You can thank honeybees for one out of every three bites of food you take in your lifetime-- that amounts to about $15 billion worth of American food. Farmers rely on bees to help propagate several of our favorite fruits and vegetables. Plants from alfalfa to watermelon rely on bees for pollination. Additionally, they help repopulate many of the crops we use to feed livestock, so you can thank bees for that hamburger next time you’re chomping down, as well. If we don’t keep bee populations healthy, we will not be able to meet the growing demand for food in this country.
How American Farmers Use Bees
Bees are so crucial for American agriculture that farmers hire migratory beekeepers from around the country to travel to them during pollination season (generally between October and February). These beekeepers pack up their hives into trucks in the dead of night when all the bees are at home. They cover the boxes and travel hundreds of miles to get to farms in California, Texas, Idaho, Florida, and all other states where we grow food. where the bees are released to do their magic. (Sidenote: this is how it happens with the exception of the rare, occasional accident).
So you can see, the decline in bee colonies could have a huge impact on the amount of food farmers are able to produce. But what can you do about it?
How You Can Help Bees
Bees and Our Future
Just because you aren’t a professional beekeeper doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be worried about the dwindling populations. Humans depend on bees for agriculture and without them we wouldn’t be able to enjoy many of the foods we love. By helping beekeepers and the bee population, you help everyone and everything who depend on the crops we grow.
This is a guest article written by Christy Erickson, firstname.lastname@example.org