Sounds terrible, right?
Unfortunately, that’s the shocking future we face if we don’t work to help our most precious pollinator: bees.
Far from being a niche concern, bees is at the heart of our survival. One in three bites of food we eat depends entirely on bees – and they have been dying at unprecedented rates. Their hard work is not only essential to healthy ecosystems, but to sustaining animal and human life too.
From apples and squash, to buckwheat and coffee, bees are responsible for pollinating most of the fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grains that are essential to our diets. Honey bees in particular play a huge role in agriculture, contributing over $15 billion to the value of US crop production.
Each year, bees are experiencing massive die-offs nationwide. Between 2015 and 2016, an estimated 44% of beekeeper colonies died. 2017 marked the year that the first bee was added to the endangered species list in the continental US. Compared to 1947, the US honey bee population has declined by 60%.
These die-offs occur across commercial and small-scale beekeepers, and are caused by a variety of factors, including colony collapse disorder, varroa mites, habitat loss, climate change, and pesticide use.