Green Schools: Biodiversity: Why Are Bees Dying Out?

Galápagos interlude 2
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In many parts of the world, honeybees are dying. This is causing a lot of worry. This is because be pollinate important food crops.

Scientists are trying to figure out why bees are dying.

What makes this mystery really hard to solve is that bees are hard to study.

1. Most bees die away from the hive, so the scientists don’t have any dead bees to examine.

2. Bees have a natural life cycle and because if this when scientist return to a hive after even two weeks, about half the bees they studied on their first visit will be dead and they will be replaced by new ones.

3. Being a scientist detective is even trickier because, bees travel up to 3 kilometres away from their hive to find nectar from flowers. So that when bees become ill or poisoned, it is hard to know where the damage was done.

Scientists do have some ideas about what could be causing the bees to die.

1. They could be poisoned by insect sprays that people use to kill insects that are pests. Another name for these insect sprays are pesticides and insecticides.

2. We learned about overgrazing when we heard about what could happen if the Snow Leopard, for example disappeared from the food chain. See this link on our school’s Green Schools Blog to find out. Overgrazing would mean the fields and meadows when the bees get their food would be destroyed.

3. Bees may not be getting enough food to be strong and healthy. This is also because the habitats where their food grows; meadows and fields and being taken over by building.

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For example: Where we live around Greystones used be full of meadows, fields and forests. Now they are full of houses.

The hints that this happened are in the names of some of the estates.

1. So Heathervue was once a hillside covered in heather, whether the bees could collect nectar.

six-petaled apple, or some other rose
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Martin LaBar via Compfight

2. Perhaps there were cherry trees in Delgany before the houses in Cherry Glade  and Cherry Drive were built.

There are other reasons too, that scientists think that the number of bees is falling.

1. They think that tiny insects called mites feed on bees.

2. Others think that it is a virus or bacteria that is damaging the bee population.

Most of all it is important to protect the bee population because they pollinates so many plants that become food for the human race.

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