Why Are Bees Disappearing?

According to the Washington Post, scientists believe that bees are disappearing due to the excessive use of neonicotinoid, which is a type of pesticide. Another theory is that mites carrying diseases infest and infect bees.

Scientists first stumbled upon the neonicotinoid theory as a cause for bee disappearance by observing the decrease in bird populations. This decrease directly corresponds to the decrease in insect and bee populations, which can be explained by the wholesale use of certain pesticides. Neonicotinoids accumulate in the soil and have long-term effects on the environment.

A 4-year study on neonicotinoid found that this pesticide wipes out certain insect populations, an important aspect of ecological diversity. Birds, bees and worms are especially vulnerable. What makes the situation doubly critical is that birds, bees and worms are also a critical component of food protection. When exposed to neonicotinoids, bee colonies suffer from what looks like Colony Collapse Disorder. When this occurs, bees abandon the hives and eventually die.

Bee disappearance is a very real problem. In 2011, 12 million bees died in Brevard County, Fla. In 2013, 37 million bees died at a beekeeping business in Canada. Certain legislation gives farmers monetary incentives if they set aside areas for honeybee habitats in an effort to re-establish this disappearing insect.