ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Honeybees - Why Are They Disappearing?

Updated on January 23, 2017

What is Happening to Our Honeybees?

As most people are aware, there is a major decline in the number of honeybees over the last several years. The following article contains information on the honeybee and several theories as to why the honeybees are disappearing and what we can do to help.

Are Our Honey Bees Disappearing?

Honeybee pollenating yellow flower.
Honeybee pollenating yellow flower. | Source

General Information

Honeybees are members of the order Hymenoptera, which also includes flies, wasps and ants. The commonly known “honey bee” is the Apis mellifera. Honeybees are the only animals besides humans known to have a representational language. They share information by touching each others antennae and do what is sometimes called a “waggle dance” which tells the other bees the location of food.

Queen bees are the only sexually productive females in the colony, thus she is the mother of all drones, workers, and future queens. The queen bee can choose the sex of each egg she lays and can lay up to 1500 eggs daily. The male bees are known as drones. Their only function within the hive is to mate. After mating, which happens in the air, the drone dies. Workers build and maintain the nest and care for the brood. They build the nest from wax secreted from glands in their abdomen.

Bee on Purple Coneflower

Bee collecting pollen.
Bee collecting pollen. | Source

Honeybees on the Decline

Honeybees are a very important part of our agriculture as the provide pollination for our vegetable crops as well as our fruit crops and flowers. Bees are not the only source of pollination, however they are one of the main sources.

There has been such a reduction in the numbers of honey bees that there has been much attention brought to this problem. It is being termed, The Colony Collapse Disorder. Beekeepers have been known to open their hives only to discover that they were suddenly and mysteriously empty. Some bee keepers report having lost as much as seventy per cent of their colonies, and these losses, in turn, are likely to reduce the yields of crops.

There are several theories as to why this decline is happening. Many believe that it is a combination of things: viruses, mites, and industrial agriculture.

Purple Coneflower with Bee

Bees in one of my flower gardens.
Bees in one of my flower gardens. | Source

Viruses and Mites

The viruses compromise bees’ ability to manufacture proteins, and proteins are the tools bees use to fight off pathogens, detoxify pesticides and repair their cells. It would be much like if our health is bad, we are not as able to fight off viruses and infections and we “catch” whatever illness is going around. New strains of viruses are found every year, not only for us humans but also for the bees.

Varroa mites are suspected to be another part of the puzzle. Varroa mites are tiny parasites that attach themselves to the bees and feed on their blood. There are also tracheal mites, which attack the bees breathing tubes,as well as several others. Mites are parasites which live off the bees and their larve, destroying their health in the process.

Honey Bee on Wildflower

Honeybee on Yellow Flower
Honeybee on Yellow Flower

Industrial Agriculture

There was a study done on hundreds of pollen samples, which showed, on average, six different pesticides. It was reported that studies also identified sub-lethal effects of neonicotinoids and fungicides, pesticides that may impair the bee's immune system. It is believed that these pesticides impair the bee’s immune system, which leaves the bee more susceptible to bee viruses.

What We Can Do To Help

The best thing we can do to help the bees is to not use pesticides. If that is not possible for you, don’t use these pesticides during mid-day while the honeybees are more likely to be out foraging for pollen and nectar. Plant flowers that are good nectar sources like red clover, foxglove and bee balm. Yellow cosmos, cone flowers, morning glorys and sunflowers are execellent flower for bees also. We need to encourage good nutrition for our bees in order to keep them as healthy as possible.

No one knows for sure why the honeybees are disappearing. Scientists are trying to find the culprits and a solution, but much of it is still speculation. I hope this information on the disappearance of the honeybees is informative and helpful. If you have a vegetable garden or flower gardens, be kind to your bees.

Have you noticed a decline in honey bees where you live?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      8 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hello C Mark! About 2 years ago, I noticed a huge drop in the number of bees in my vegetable garden. I became concerned and did some research on it and read about the colony collapse disorder. This could be very dangerous for all of us. I have always tried to limit my pesticide use, but now more than ever. Last year my bee population was back up and I have high hopes for this year as well. I don't know if I have ever seen Russian bees, but I know better than to swat at any bees. We just have a little conversation. I tell them that if they won't sting me, I will continue to take care of my garden and furnish them with food, but if they sting me, they are on their own. LOL Thank you for taking time to read my hub and comment, it is always appreciated. Have a wonderful day! :)

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      8 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi Peggy,

      I try not to use pesticides in my gardens, but last year I had to. The army worms were eating everything! I had never seen them so bad. I agree that the biggest problem is the commercial growers, but then I don't know what choices they have. If the honey bees disappear, we are all going to be in big trouble. Thank you for your kind comment and all your support. Your know how much I appreciate you! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • c mark walker profile image

      Charles Mark Walker 

      8 years ago from Jasper Georgia

      I've noticed a drop in bee pollination in my garden getting worse every year. My tomato blossoms simply drop off. It's not only domestic bees but wild bees as well that are scarce. Wild bees are very tiny and usually solitary but their hind legs are loaded down with pollen. Fewer Russian bees(yellow hornets) than ever before. Russian bees are the large yellow imposing bees that so many people fear for their size but they're actually friendly. Curiosity on their part is why they get in your face.Be calm around them and don't swat at them. Personally I like bees having learned to work around them when working at an apple house years ago with swarms all around me all day. If your calm,they won't sting. Bees are going to be a real concern if their lives are threatened and we don't change practices like herbicide and pesticide over use.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I don't use any pesticides in my vegetable garden. I use natural methods like soapy water on aphids, crushed eggshells around plants to keep snails and slugs away, etc. I realize that the bigger problem is commercial farming where pesticides ARE used. The colony bee collapse should worry everyone in the world since much of our food supply comes from them doing the pollinating. Excellent hub and wonderful photos. Up, useful, interesting and will share and pin.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      8 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi Kasman! Summer before last I notice there were hardly any bees in my garden. I usually have a little "talk" with the bees as I am reaching down to pick my vegetables. LOL Last year I did notice there were more bees. I'm not sure if that is the case in most areas or not. I look forward to seeing how many bees I have this year. Thank you for stopping in, commenting and your vote! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • Kasman profile image


      8 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      I have been noticing a decline in honeybees lately but not necessarily in pollen count. Interesting as I hadn't paid much attention to it until I ran across this hub. Very well researched, I didn't know bees and wasps were full blown related. Voting up.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      8 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi moonlake. The decline of honey bees is a concern. I have tried more natural types of insect control on my garden to help with the pesticide part of the issue. I have tons of flowers for them to snack on and don't ever swat them. I hope to see more honey bees in my gardens this year than last. Thank you for your comment and vote! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • moonlake profile image


      8 years ago from America

      It is a worry thought that honey bees are declining. The big problem is not knowing for sure why they are disappearing if they knew why maybe we could help. Voted up.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      8 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hello again YogaKat! :) I used to never think much about swatting at a bee that was buzzing me, but now I will just move away or let him be as we need to bring our bee population back to better numbers. I appreciate your leaving your flower buds for our bees, I'm sure they appreciate it too! Thanks for stopping in and commenting! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • YogaKat profile image


      8 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      Another reason to buy organic produce. That list gets longer and longer. Thanks for drawing my awareness to the honeybee plight Sgbrown. I notice a honeybee hovering around my basil bush every day. I keep pinching off flower buds . . . but now I will leave a few for my winged visitor.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      9 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hello Sharkye! I think it is great that you are really helping out the bees. I noticed a lot of bees on my crype myrtle yesterday. I plan on planting more of them. The bees really like my vegetable garden too. That's cool that you are saving up for some bee hives. I think there are some hubs on here that may give you some information on that. Good luck! Thank you for your wonderful comment and share! Have a gret day! :)

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 

      9 years ago from Oklahoma

      Terrific hub. Bees are a subject very close to my heart. I was raised to believe that honeybees are lucky and practically sacred. I planted a variety of flowers this year specifically for the bees, and am in the process of saving up for some hives. Thanks for sharing this!

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      9 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hello mvillecat! We have had a garden for the last 26 years now and I have seen a dramatic drop in the number of honey bees. If the number of honey bees continues to drop like this, we are going to be in trouble. We need to do what we can to help. Thank you for reading and commenting, it is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • mvillecat profile image

      Catherine Dean 

      9 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      This is right on target. It is very scary how this is happening. I am trying to grow a large amount of the food we consume and it is very apparent due to the lack of polination of our veggies that something is not right. Thanks for this hub.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      9 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi Audra! I hope people realize that if we loose our bees, we are going to be in big trouble! Thank you for your kind words and for visiting my website! Have a beautiful day! :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      People do not realize how important bees are. You piece was very interesting. Your pictures are fascinating and so vivid! Voted up and shared! ps...your website is terrific!

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      9 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi alocsin! I have noticed a big decline in the honeybees in our garden last year. I hope I see more this year. I try not to use harmful insecticides, going to try harder this year. We will be in BIG trouble if we loose our honeybees. Thank you for reading, commenting and voting on my hub. It is always appreciated! Have a Bee-utiful day! :)

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      9 years ago from Orange County, CA

      This is a big concern of mine and I'm hoping it's only temporary and not the start of a trend. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      9 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hello Nomascus. Yes, bees are a very important part of our world. I hope we are doing enough to save them from destruction. Thank you for your kind comments and have a beautiful day! :)

    • Nomascus concolor profile image

      Nomascus concolor 

      9 years ago from A Country called Earth

      Bees are vital to biodivesrsity! Another great hub sgbrown, thanks for sharing.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      9 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hello prasetio. Nice to hear from you again. :) If the honeybees completely disappear it would be devastating to the entire human race. We just can't let that happen. Thank you for stopping by and reading, commenting and voting on my hub, it is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day. :)

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      9 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi uzma. This problem is getting more attention now, but I thought this would be a good time to write a hub on it as some of us are going to be using insecticides on our gardens. Thank you so much for reading, commenting and sharing my hub! It is always appreciated. Have a wonderful day! :)

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      9 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi Peg! Always good to hear from you! :) I noticed a decline in the bees in our garden the last two years and was wondering why. We really need to try to re-populate our bees as well as cut back on the pesticides. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Have a great day! :)

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I can't imagine if the honey bee will disappear from the earth. We can't see the beautiful flower and the plant population will end. But, I hope this wouldn't happen. Thanks for writing and share with us. Good job and rated up!


    • uzma shaheen profile image

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 

      9 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      oh! I was unaware of this delining bee problem, thank you very mucg for sharing this valuable information. i am going to share this hub.voted up.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      9 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Very interesting topic that should concern us all. Thanks for the explanation. I had heard of this and wondered what was happening to the honeybees.

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      9 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Thank you nextstopjupiter! I am glad you found my hub interesting. I will try google translation, thank you for the link. I appreciate you stopping in and reading my hub. Have a great day! :)

    • nextstopjupiter profile image


      9 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      Thanks for this hub! Some days ago I found this article related to your hub, unfortunately only in German, but you can try google translation,1518,82...

    • sgbrown profile imageAUTHOR

      Sheila Brown 

      9 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Hi Rebecca. Thank you for your kind words. I have really noticed a decline in bees in our garden in the last 2 years. Losing out bee population could be very dangerous to our economy. We need to help where we can. Thank you for stopping by, it is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      9 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Awesome Hub. Very interesting and of value. I know I will have this declining bee problem in mind concerning using pesticides


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)