The decline of bee populations is a global problem.
Certain pesticides that are used in agriculture and by gardeners are a huge problem for beekeepers and their bees. They are deadly to bees and also destroy their colonies.
Cornell University researchers are working to find a solution. One promising invention, which we blogged about at greater length recently, is a substance that helps bees to safely digest some pesticides.
According to researchers that have tested wax and pollen, 98% of hives in the USA are contaminated with an average of six pesticides. This leads to one-third of the bee population across the country dying, which poses a huge loss for beekeepers and for humanity, which depends on bees to pollinate every third bite of food on our plate. Bees are also critical to the health of our ecosystem.
Sometimes we seek complex solutions when something quite simple works best.
This unrelated 4:45-minute video by The Friendly Brain shows us what might happen if all the world's bees disappeared:
James Webb is co-author of the study and the CEO of a new company called Beemunity. The paper focused on organophosphate-based insecticides.
The key to this solution, which has had successful results so far, is that a pollen-sized microparticle is fed to bees in sugar syrup or pollen patties. It helps their tiny bodies safely manage exposure to pesticides.
The microparticle breaks down any organic phosphates the bees consumed or were exposed to. The breaking down process takes place in their stomachs, where it is turned into non-toxic materials.
This enzyme enables bees to survive despite that exposure. Continuing field trials will be conducted by researchers, and products will start being launched to the public as early as Fall 2021.
In a perfect world, such toxic pesticides would be banned because we would care enough to save the bees, save our planet, and save ourselves. Instead, humanity seems unable or unwilling to act. Hopefully for the bees, this new invention will offer a solution to a problem we seem unwilling to eradicate.
Without bees, we would not have enough healthy nutrient-dense food. More education is needed about the importance of bees, the hazards they face, and what we can do to make their lives better, healthier, and easier in any way.