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Why Bee Extinction Would Mean the End of Humanity
Bees are disappearing at an alarming rate due to the excessive use of pesticides in crops and certain blood-sucking parasites that only reproduce in bee colonies. It’s true that the extinction of bees would mean the end of humanity. If bees didn’t exist, humans wouldn’t either.
Since 2006, the population of bees has declined considerably (source). Pesticides, disease, parasites, and poor weather due to global warming have played a major role in this worrying decline.
Are bees endangered?
Bee population has been on a decline in recent years. Some species were added to the endangered list in 2017 (seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees) and 2018 (The rusty-patched bumblebee, Bombus affinis) so as to protect and revive their numbers. There have been a number of reasons for this decline. Let’s take a look at few of them.
Why are bees endangered?
Bees are going extinct mainly because of two reasons: pesticides and parasites.
Since the end of World War 2, the use of pesticides in agriculture has increased exponentially.
This intense use of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids (a relatively new class of insecticides that affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death), has had a major role in the bees’ decline (source). When bees are exposed to neonicotinoids, they go into a shock and forget their way home (sort of like the insect version of Alzheimer’s).
Along with pesticides, parasites known as Varrao mites (also called Varrao destructors) are also responsible for their death (source). The Varrao can only reproduce in a bee colony. They are blood-sucking parasites that affect adult and young bees equally. The disease inflicted by these mites can result in bees losing legs or wings, essentially killing them.
Colony Collapse Disorder
Beekeepers started reporting a sudden reduction in the number of bees. The adult bees disappeared suddenly and mostly together. The hives were left with just the queen and immature bees. Even the food was present in high quantities. In some cases, few adult bees were found attending to the queen. Reasons mentioned above are two of the many factors that play a role in this disorder.
Effects of bee extinction
Extinction of bees will affect plants, animals, availability of fuels, topography, clothing and of course, human life.