All You Need To Do Is Bee-lieve

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Ecosystems all across the world rely on pollinators to sustain plants which animals depend on, and bees are by far the most important ones on our planet. To put it into context, an astonishing 14 million flowers are pollinated per day by a single beehive. However, bees are at risk from threats such as varroa mites, insecticides and climate change. Nevertheless, do not despair!

 

Varroa mites are known to be carriers of the disease deformed wing virus, which damage bees' wings and can even paralyse them. This virus can play a huge role in the losses of honeybee colonies. Recently, a new study has found some salvation for bees. Research discovered a fungus that when fed to bee colonies showed a significant reduction in deformed wing virus. It is very easy to feed the mushroom extract to these pollinators so hopefully it will be made available soon allowing individual and commercial beekeepers to continue the battle to prevent the collapse of colonies.

 

Additionally, many insecticides have affected bees negatively with regard to the health of the colony and bees' navigational memory. Early this year, France officially became the first country in Europe to ban the use of the five insecticides that harm bees. This is a step further than the European Union, which outlawed three neonicotinoids (pesticides affecting the nervous system of insects). Maybe France's step forward will encourage other European countries to follow suit.

 

You're probably thinking "yeah okay you can find cures for diseases and stop the use of insecticides, but how on earth do you help bees when it comes to climate change?". Well one of the main problems is that the warmer weather is inducing earlier springs, which means there aren’t as many flowers available for bees when they wake up from hibernation. There is good news, however, as a borough in London may have found one solution. Brent, located in north-west London, is planning to plant an 11 kilometre "bee corridor" filled with wildflowers that will provide the sustenance these pollinators need.

 

Despite, the problems and challenges bees face, in the words of Bill Gates "innovation is moving at a scarily fast past". Not only that, people's willingness to protect the future of these small but extraordinary creatures makes a huge difference. I will leave you with the thought that maybe all we need to do is bee-lieve (sorry couldn't resist).

 

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