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What Will Happen if Bees Become Extinct?

Updated on March 28, 2015
Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy lives in Austin, Texas and has written about environmental issues and conservation for more than a decade.

Why Are Our Bee's Dying?

Notice the clump of pollen on this bee's leg. Bees collect and spread pollen while they feed on nectar
Notice the clump of pollen on this bee's leg. Bees collect and spread pollen while they feed on nectar | Source

What is Happening to the Bee Population?

Around 2006, scientists, entomologists and others began noticing a decline in the bee population. As the next few years progressed, the decline was referred to as a crisis; bees were dying off, and nobody knew why or how to stop it.

"Colony collapse disorder," a situation in which adult bees, crucial to the colony's survival, abandon the hive by either dying or flying off. The disorder was uncannily reminiscent of the mysterious disappearance of the Mayans centuries ago, and as the crisis continued, researchers scrambled to learn why our bees were declining and determine what to do.

Bees are far more than the subject of songs, the bane of outdoor picnics and the busy producers of the sweet stuff we all love, honey. They play an integral and critical role in sustaining our food supply by carrying pollen from one source to another. Without bees to fertilize plants, crops would decline. Without crops, well, you get the picture. The entire human race could be in serious trouble.

Read on, for more facts and details:

Why Do We Need Bees?

Honey bees collect and carry pollen from one plant to another, which fertilizes crops.
Honey bees collect and carry pollen from one plant to another, which fertilizes crops. | Source
These bees are getting covered in pollen as they ferret around in a cactus flower
These bees are getting covered in pollen as they ferret around in a cactus flower | Source
Some bees prefer one type of crop over another. It's important to protect all species of bees.
Some bees prefer one type of crop over another. It's important to protect all species of bees. | Source

Colony Collapse | Why Bees are Dying

Although bee populations have grown and declined throughout history, the colony collapses in recent years has created more alarm than during previous such instances. By 2010, the decline in the bee population was a global concern, and in March 2011, the United Nations predicted yet further declines in the beloved insect that pollinates a huge percentage of the world's food crops.

In addition to reports of collapsed colonies, researchers began discovering a greater percentage of pesticides in wax samples, which further endangered both the bees and their ability to safely and effectively pass pollen from one plant to another.

In January of 2012, furthering its efforts to combat the decline, the USDA announced it would fund research to help create bee-friendly seed mixtures, which are expected to provide optimum habitats for native species of bees.

Answers to the problems will not be simple, nor will they be easy to target. Although it might seem that one good solution would work for all bees, that's not the case. The January 2012 USDA report mentions a decline in 4,000 species of bees native to North America. Each species can have its own characteristics, and the variety of solutions needed to halt the decline could be huge.

Specialized Pollinators: Some bees, it seems, are rather specialized. They might pollinate one type of flowering plant, but show no interest in visiting other types. This means that stopping the decline of one species of bees might help save some crops, but other crops could still suffer, because bees that pollinate those crops might still be on the decline.

Before you decide flowers aren't the issue, remember that many food plants, such as squash or pumpkin, form a flower as part of their growing process. We need those flowers, because we need the produce that comes later in the growing season.

By creating bee-friendly seeds, the USDA hopes to attract bees naturally to plants needing their assistance. But the varieties of produce are just as varied as the species of bees, so this approach will still require considerable time.

This Farmer Relies on Bees for his Buckwheat Crops

Video: Plant Reproduction System | How Pollination Works

Bee Keepers Ship Bees to Farmers to Provide Pollination

Years ago, we depended on bees to hang around the local neighborhood and spread the pollen. Not so today. With food being mass produced, many growing regions lack sufficient bee colonies to adequately pollinate crops.

How it works:

For many years, farmers have paid bee keepers to ship bees to the fields where they're needed. Sort of a rent-a-bee program where the same colony can travel many miles a year servicing fields all across the country. This allows mass food production, which in turn allows the mass grocery consumption we are so fond of in the United States and elsewhere.

Bees pollinate crops we consume directly, such as vegetables and other foods. But they, and other pollinators (bats, for example) also pollinate crops that help us indirectly by providing food for the grain that animals consume, or by pollinating plants used in clothing industries and elsewhere.

If we lose pollinators, we face a food crisis like none we've ever seen.

Bees Pollenate Flowers and Other Plants | This Bee is Pollenating Lavender Fields

What is Being Done to Save Pollenating Bees?

A recent report on The Status of Pollinators, by the National Research Council suggests several steps be taken to protect the pollinators we rely on for our food, such as bats, insects (including bees), birds and other animals. Bees (considered 'managed pollinators,' because they are commercially farmed and transported to various crops that are dependent on them for pollination) need disease controls during shipping to prevent illnesses and other conditions that can weaken a colony and the effectiveness of its bees.

The report also recommends improving communication channels for beekeepers to help them stay abreast of news related to the industry and situations that might harm their hives.

Wild pollinators, such as bats, birds and insects not purposely grown for such use, are harder to manage directly, and more challenging to help, since they migrate to areas that may or may not have the resources or political support to implement safeguards, controls or other steps that can protect the species.

The USDA funding mentioned above is approaching the problem from another direction, by making crops more attractive to pollinators.

Video About the Global Bee Crisis

Book on Natural History of Bees

What Will Happen to Honey Bees This Year?

Nobody has made a solid prediction yet. But the problem definitely needs to be identified and addressed. Scientists continue to dig for data that shows trends, and they search for diseases or other factors that might be contributing causes. The question remains, though, as to whether we have artificially engineered and chemically enhanced our way into a New World Order regarding the food supply and how we sustain life.

If the bee population can't be sustained (and preferably restored), do we find ourselves with less food to distribute to the growing millions who live on our planet? Do we learn to live with fewer food choices, because bees that pollinate certain plants have died off, thereby killing off that type of plant life? Or will we face both situations?

Will food, if it's available, skyrocket? (Probably, but I'm not an expert economist).

A study by Wellesley College,reveals the discovery of genetically diverse honey bees that have developed the ability to enhance their protection against pathogens. The diversity occurs in colonies where the queen bee has many male mates (rather than just a few), giving the colony a greater range of genetically transmitted protective abilities not found in more uniform colonies.

Early speculation is that bees in these newly discovered colonies might be hardier and more able to survive the changing conditions on our planet. This could make them sort of the 'bees of the future,' if true, and if (a crucial if), they multiply fast enough to compensate for the losses in recent years. Those are both huge 'ifs' at this point.

Meanwhile, pay attention to your own use of pesticides and other chemicals that can harm these precious insects. And watch the news as the story continues to unfold.

All photos credited to Marcy Goodfleisch are original and copyrighted. No reproductions or distribution may be made without her express permission. Contact Marcy Goodfleisch, MA, through the link provided on her profile for further information.

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  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Could be - interesting theory.

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    Bob 4 years ago

    Cell phone signals?

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    bee_happy 4 years ago

    could it be true? i guess chem_trails are not helping either...

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, 2uesday! There indeed are plants that bees like more than others - and that's one way to help the bee population. This issues isn't resolved yet, so the next few years may be crucial. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • 2uesday profile image

    2uesday 4 years ago

    I try to plant bee friendly plants in the garden and on the vegetable plot. I know a bee keeper who said that last year weather wise in the UK, it was a bad year for bees.

    Bee friendly plants are often the easiest ones to grow so it is not difficult to have a bee haven in the garden.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Amelia - thanks for reading - it was published earlier this year, around March or so. It's still a problem, and still scary to contemplate.

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    Amelia 4 years ago

    When was this posted/ published?

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Matthew - it's fascinating to read more about this subject!

  • Matthew Kirk profile image

    Matthew Kirk 5 years ago from Liverpool

    Recently saw this and thought I would share - this apparently explains a lot about why bees are disapearing - http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/18339797

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Quicksand - yes, honey is almost a miracle cure - and it's mentioned in the Bible so often as being a sign of plentiful food and providence.

    A few years ago, I had some eye surgery and after the healing period was over, I gingerly tried to put my contact lenses in. That part worked fine, but I couldn't get them out, and one of them got shoved off my pupil. The doctor told me to put a small drop of honey in my eye. I did do that, but I still wasn't able to dislodge the lens and retrieve it (too scared to mess with it, I think).

    He said the honey was a natural lubricant and would loosen the suction of the lens. I have to say it burned a tiny bit, but now we know yet another use for this incredible substance!

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • quicksand profile image

    quicksand 5 years ago

    Shiver me timbers! Shocking indeed ... the very thought is. Honey is supposed to cure many an illness and also is spoken of as a substance that has the ability to prevent all types of maladies.

    It is used extensively in the preparation of herbal medicines too.

    Hope a solution is found soon. Cheers. :)

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I appreciate your comments, ShalahChayilJoy.

  • ShalahChayilJOY profile image

    Shalah Chayil 5 years ago from Billings, Montana

    Shalom Marcy and viewers.

    LIFE is in the SPIRIT of our Creator. HE knows exactly what is happening to all creatures. It is NO surprise to HIM. The earth shall be filled with flooded with the GLORY of our MAKER who is LIFE. In that case,, since HE Is and sustains and maintains all life----honeybees will be unnecessary. So we need not worry about it.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks for commenting here, clairemy, and I truly hope it raisesbawareness, too!

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    Claire 5 years ago

    This is a very important issue you have tackled really well. I hope many more people sit up and take notice at the decline of the bee population. As you point out we really need them.

    Voted up and interesting.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, MG - I feel you're probably right about extinction. My concern is that some areas will lose their population and not be able to sustain crops. Or that some types of bees will become endangered and if they're crop-specific, we could see depleted supplies of those crops.

    Many thanks for reading and commenting here!

  • MG Singh profile image

    MG Singh 5 years ago from Singapore

    Interesting post, but nature always balances and I am pretty sure the bees will not become extinct.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Brian - thanks for your kind comments! I hadn't heard that bees were getting smaller, but there's considerable data that they're weakening, and they are in distress. With whatever else is going on, the pesticide issue doesn't help matters. Thank you for the compliments on the photos, and for reading here!

  • BRIAN SLATER profile image

    Brian Slater 5 years ago from Nottingham Uk

    Hi Marcy, a really good hub on a serious topic. Th uk has forsome time published the occasional article on why bees are disappearing and that is the over use of pesticides in farming management. There is too much pressure on farmers to produce ever higher yields. Hedgerows have disappeared at an alarming rate over the past 20 years. I did read not so long ago that the size of bees was said to be getting smaller which is also a worrying trend. Voted up, btw great photos.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I still need to watch that movie, cebutouristspot! I hear it's really cute, and everyone seems to have enjoyed it. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I feel the same way, Crystal - there's a bush outside my front door that often attracts a ton of bees. They've never stung me, but I sometimes think it's a nuisance that they're right by the door. Maybe I will go feed them now, or something! Thanks for your comments here!

  • cebutouristspot profile image

    cebutouristspot 5 years ago from Cebu

    This is an interesting hub and actually made me smile since I just finish watching the Bee movie. It Bees are gone out eco system will be shatters and will have a direct effect on our food system. :)

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    Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

    Another fantastic hub Marcy. I remember watching "A Bee's Life" a cartoon featuring the vocal talent of Jerry Seinfeld a few years ago, and I'm ashamed to admit, I'd never though much about the importance of bees before that time. That movie is a great way to educate kids - and adults, obviously - about the consequences of the declining bee population. I'll try to remember you hub the next time I angrily swat away a bee!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    That's a very interesting point, Melis Ann - I do believe we can talk with our pocketbooks and get results. It's a huge education issue, though, to help people understand the things that damage certain species or crops.

    Thanks for reading and for your interesting comment!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Tim - thanks for your kind words about the hub, and my photos! Believe it or not, I took the closeup shots with the white backgrounds just while walking around my neighborhood & poking my lens in flowers that had bees around them. I love macro photography (I don't know that I'm good at it, but what the heck). I didn't realize they would be used for an article one day - I just enjoyed taking them & was trying out a new lens.

    The yellow one was taken nearby, I think at the Lady BIrd Johnson Wildflower Center. I'm having trouble finding the original of it - all I can locate (due to some computer issues) is the cropped version, and it wasn't sharpened or anything before I cropped it.

    I had the best luck finding the little guys by going out early- to mid-morning. This was before our horribly hot summer last year and all the fires in Texas, though. I don't know where our poor little bees will be this year!

    Many thanks for your kind comments! I may try to do a hub someday on finding good shots of various things.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thank you, OrganicPixie (and I love that cute name!). I do take this seriously - especially given the huge number of places where problems are being seen. The issue is by no means over - so we need to watch for trends and changes. I appreciate your comments!

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    Melis Ann 5 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

    As media coverage swells over genetically modified foods and the chemicals used to grow them, I've been hearing more about bees being killed. We all need to be aware of our choices in the food we purchase at the grocery store and how that affects the survival of bees. If we don't purchase products that include GMOs, then those companies will either stop using them or go out of business. Voila ~ one less source killing the bees. Voted up and SHARED!

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    Tim Mitchell 5 years ago from Escondido, CA

    Good morning Marcy. Looking at my garden I realize two things - not too many bees and no blooms. The 2nd is I better change my focus and give more attention.

    Next, I found this article to be fascinating and stimulating in many ways. Having a rogue bee problem last year some of my bird population - 'Hooded Orioles' don't visit anymore. The rogue bees annexed their feeder sucking it dry. That may be a hub. Yet, the worker bees remained vigilant with the sage blooms, especially, a food source for the hummingbirds.

    However, that is not what fascinates me. I'm not sure about others. I would be interested in a hub about your bee safari - where, how you got the pics, and personal insight mixed with personal choice(s) for the artistic portion of the hub.

    How has this article affected me and the effect it will have is. I'm heading to the front garden, where the sun is this time of day, and looking . . .

    Tim

  • Organicpixie profile image

    Organicpixie 5 years ago from London

    Great topic and a real genuine worry. Pleased you wrote such an interesting hub on the topic.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Awww - Billy, you are too sweet! Thanks for sharing the Buzz on that!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Sharyn! I learned a lot about bees, too - although I'd always known about pollination, I somehow didn't recognize that our entire food source depends on our buzzing little friends! I appreciate your comments!

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    Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I believe you just might be featured in my latest hub!

  • Sharyn's Slant profile image

    Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

    Hi Marcy ~ wow, I learned a lot here! I don't like bees and get anxious and fearful whenever they are near. But I DO understand their purpose. I had no idea that farmers have bees shipped to them. Great hub!

    Sharyn

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, poowool! The problem hasn't been solved yet - so we need to watch it closely and hope for a good solution. Many thanks for reading and commenting here!

  • poowool5 profile image

    poowool5 5 years ago from here in my house

    Great informative hub, Marcy. I have been aware of this growing problem for a while, but you lay all the facts and arguments out well. It will be an interesting and important issue to keep tabs on. Voted up and interesting!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I hadn't heard about the frogs, Mr. Happy -maybe that would be an interesting hub for you to write? You have a considerable knowledge of nature and the outdoors, and that would be a very intriguing hub for the readers. Thanks, again, for commenting!

  • Mr. Happy profile image

    Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Thank You for the update Mrs. Marcy Goodfleisch. I was curious if there was an improvement on this topic because in the last couple of years frogs have been dying-off as well (especially here in Ontario) ... a strange circumstance with no clear explanation.

    I suppose there is still lots to learn on this issues. Time will tell ...

    All the best.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Mr. Happy - most of what I read continued to predict possible problems, which is one reason scientists are trying to develop new seeds and other measures to counteract a decline. In Texas, 2010 was a good year for the production of honey, but very recent reports are that the massive drought last year, which is still affecting the state, had a huge negative impact on bees and honey production. Of course, honey is only one part of the picture. I think we're watching and hoping for better conditions going forward. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Mr. Happy profile image

    Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Interesting article. I knew about the bees dying-off some years back but is it still happening now? I thought it had gotten better.

    Bees are very special little creatures for me. Back-home (Romania) bees are very common and we tend to use/eat a lot of honey. I knew someone who used the bee sting to treat rheumatism too - I am not too happy with that because of course after the sting the bee dies but I suppose if it is done to better one's health, I can live with it.

    Dacian (my ancestors) priests were known to only eat honey and milk products. Yes, I love honey and bees!

    Thank You for putting this piece of writing together. Fighting for bees is certainly fighting the good fight! : ) All the best.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Oh, that must have been amazing to see, jenubouka! And a bit scary, too, given the ramifications. I've seen a swarm before, but it was a hive that apparently decided to relocate (years ago). It was fascinating to see, though.

    Thank you for reading and commenting!

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    jenubouka 5 years ago

    This reminds of two summers ago where I had three different episodes of "abandoned" bees swarm one of my trees. Each time there were about 150,000 to 300,000 bees that either lost their queen or were kicked out of their dwelling, or says the beekeeper that removed them.

    Wonderful article! It does worry me that the bees are becoming less of a presence.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I've noticed fewer bees in recent years, too, Ivona. I also haven't seen fireflies for many years, but I don't think Texas has as many as we had in Ohio. Yes, it would be terrific to put wasps to use somehow. Might make them more tolerable to have around.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Ivona Poyntz profile image

    Ivona Poyntz 5 years ago from UK

    I hardly see any bees in South London: on the other hand, there are scores of wasps: too bad it can't be the other way around.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks for reading and commenting, pumpkin cat, I hope people check into what you mentioned to learn more about it.

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    Courtney Rhodes 5 years ago from Houston, Texas U.S.A.

    Monsanto's chemicals and gmo's are killing off the bees! Please learn about this company and the atrocities they are committing. They are on their way to destroying the earth.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I've heard that quote, too, Matthew, but some sources say this quote can't be found in his works. It sounds like a plausible statement, though, doesn't it? At any rate, it gives us food for thought. And if the bees die off, that may be all the food we get for a while. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Matthew Kirk profile image

    Matthew Kirk 5 years ago from Liverpool

    Einstein said: “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live".

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Ryk - thanks so much for this interesting update! I'm so glad to hear that steps are being made to avoid harming colonies. It's sad that one beekeeper lost a percentage of his hives; if he has a commercial enterprise, that was probably a considerable number of bees.

    Please consider doing a hub on the information you have; it reveals an element not discussed on this hub, and it's a timely topic. We could link the two hubs together to help people get more comprehensive information.

    Again, thanks for sharing this information, and thank you for the very kind words about my photos!

  • ryk profile image

    ryk 5 years ago

    Marcy, I have to say that I enjoyed the close-up photos of the bees. It shows them hard at work doing their job. Very nice photos.

    I am very familiar with bee decline or colony collapse disorder (CCD) as it is now known. I am an agricultural pest control advisor (PCA) and we have to always be aware of where the bee colonies are since some of the chemicals we use can harm the colonies. So we avoid certain chemicals if bees are within a certain distance from the field being sprayed.

    Last year a certain new chemical was introduced and we had some problems as one beekeeper reported losing about 14% of his hives. Although the chemical is very good in targeting a specific pest we decided that this year we will not be using that chemical during the flowering period of the specific crop to avoid any possible damage to the bee hives.

    However, there are certain chemicals that repel bees to some extent and sometimes they are mixed together with other chemicals so that the bees stay away from certain areas that have been sprayed. I think this may provide a glimpse into what chemical companies may be looking to develop in the future to avoid possible damage to bee colonies from certain classes of pesticides. Every problem always presents an opportunity for a solution.

    There is a lot of speculation about CCD and its cause but nothing definite has been established yet. It may be one thing or it may be many things in combination that are causing it. Hopefully it can be pinpointed soon so we can know for sure the cause and how to prevent further decline.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Chris - that certainly could be one outcome of the crisis. If that's what it takes to reverse the situation, it would be fine with me! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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    Chris Merritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

    Being a optimist and a believer in free enterprise....I see this as an opportunity for the beekeeping industry to flourish...

    Don't get me wrong, I am NOT making light of this serious issue...

    Marcy, thank you for this hub, it is very, very interesting.

    Chris

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, moneycop - I appreciate your comment!

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    moneycop 5 years ago from JABALPUR

    yeah haven't just not seen since months...may be 1-2 humming about...but yes these days farming of bees is boosting then,

    u have reallt provoked in to a real problem, may be this is also a being disappearing now.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    What an interesting question you raise, Sooner! I have thought of those things, too, but not in the comprehensive way you're suggesting. My guess is that there is a bigger picture to life and the universe than we will ever know (at least while we're in the mortal form!).

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Lesley - thanks so much for your kind comments! I worry, too - and I fear we truly have no idea of what could be ahead for us if something isn't done.

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    Sooner28 5 years ago

    I think it's fascinating how everything on earth is interconnected. To go a step further, is the universe interdependent also, in a way we just don't understand? I think it's fun to think about topics like that. Sorry to get off track.

    If this problem gets solved, it will depend if short term profits are pursued, or if the correct long-term measures are taken. Considering climate change is not being addressed, I would bet that this could end up being a major problem in the future.

  • Movie Master profile image

    Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

    Hi Marcy, I worry so much about the bees...

    It concerns me that not enough is being done about this serious situation and there still isn't enough publicity about it.

    Thank you for this excellent article and your photos are amazing.

    Voting up and sharing, best wishes Lesley

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    I think you've accurately described at least one of the worst-case scenarios, drspaniel. I've personally wondered whether there may be methods developed to artificially pollinate fields (somehow harvest the pollen and then spread it over a field - but I have no idea if it's possible, or practical, or how it would work). Surely anything needed for such an approach would have to be scalable, because it would be needed on a large scale in order to replace or augment enough natural pollination to keep feeding people. Thanks for your comments!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, RTalloni - That is so interesting, that you know several people who are raising bees! I have a friend who had a hive a few years ago - it wasn't enough to pollinate a field, but she harvested the honey. Several years ago, on a plane, I met a woman who (with her husband) owns a major business related to bees. They ship them all over the country, and also have a store where they sell the honey and other products. She doesn't live too far from Austin and I keep intending to visit their store sometime.

    Thank you for reading and commenting!

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image
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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Cloverleaf - yes, it would be an incredible shame and a loss to our planet. Thank you for reading and commenting, and for your kind words on my photos!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, homesteadbound - I'd love to hear more about your grandfather's experience in having bees shipped for pollination! The Africanized bees have sort of faded from the public eye, and I've read some reports that as they bred and reproduced over the years, they have become less of a threat. I used to see boxes along country roads here in Texas, where the USDA would try to capture them for research. Do you remember seeing those? At least, that's what we were told they were for.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • drspaniel profile image

    drspaniel 5 years ago from Somewhere, where the sun shines once a year...

    Without bees, I'm sorry to have to be a bit of a downer here, but we will all eventually die! As it has been rightly said, bees are one of the main methods of pollination, and without pollination a lot of plants will die. Therefore meaning we will lose a lot of oxygen, due to the fact that our plants produce the oxygen that we breathe.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

    My husband's brother is now raising bees in another sate, our neighbor is raising them, our blueberry farmer is raising them, and we know of others interested in starting bee colonies. It is interesting to learn about working with bees and what their needs are. It may be that people are beginning to fill the gap and make raising bees a part of their lifestyle again. Glad to see the topic highlighted here.

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    Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

    Hi Marcy, it would be an awful shame if bees became extinct. Looking at your beautiful photography reminds me what amazing creatures they are. Voted up and interesting.

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    Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

    What a great hub! I love bees and they are very critical to our food crops. I remember my grandfather having hives delivered on the farm to be use for pollination. It is definitely something to be concerned about.

    What impact do you think the Africanized bees or the "killer bees" have had on our honey bee populations, especially in the south?

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks so much for reading and sharing, AEvans. I see bees around my plants, too - it's sort of a disconnect, when I realize the overall bee population is on the decline. I appreciate your comments!

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    Julianna 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

    In my yard bees seem to flock to my flowers. lololo! But on the serious side they really need to figure out the trend. You are right without our bees there isn't any pollination and our food supply will dwindle. Look at the skyrocketing prices now on all of our fruits and vegetables. It does make you wonder. Thumbs up and shared. :)

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Prasetio - thank you for reading and commenting; I'm so glad you enjoyed the information here!

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    prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Great hub and full with useful information. Bees as small creatures but has a lot of benefits for human. I can't imagine if all bees will disappeared. I learn many things from you. Good job and rated up!

    Prasetio

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Sandra - I enjoy those products, too. It's scary to think we could lose access to them, and even more scary to think our entire food supply could be in danger. Thank you for your comments!

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    Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

    I, myself, enjoy and need all the products that come from bees, including royal jelly and propolis, so I will be following the solutions to this problem with much interest. Thank you for a very informative article. Voted up, etc. Sandra Busby

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    You make some good points here, Randy - as with you, I hope our world scientists are exploring all avenues. With an exploding population and a declining supply of food to begin with, we would truly have a crisis beyond comprehension if this situation isn't reversed.

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    Randy McLaughlin 5 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

    Interesting information. I hope that the researchers are able to find bees that have more resistance to colony pathogens soon. Despite the fears of the aggressiveness of the Africanized honeybee, Central American beekeepers seem to have adapted to the use of them. There may be some gene diversity there that may be useful. The aggressiveness could be bred out over a few generations, I would bet.

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Hi, Billy - what a great goal for you to have. It would also be a great series of hubs, to let people know how you get started and what it involves. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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    Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Fascinating follow-up to reports I have heard; thank you for adding to the information. We plan on raising bees on our farm and now I'm glad we are. Great hub!

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    Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thanks, Lord - yes, this is a very sad and scary issue. There's less coverage of it lately, but the problem has by no means been resolved. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. We can both watch things over the coming year.

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    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    This is devastating Marcy,

    There should be guidelines implemented by now. Since I was a kid, bees, butterflies and birds were part of my surroundings.Hope to see a new hub next year, where the population rate get that 180 degrees. This was an awesome read.

    LORD