There has been a lot of talk amongst the media and indeed in general over the struggling bee populations.
I decided it's time we look at the hard facts once and for all.
Whilst cdriving to work this morning I overheard a radio station discussing the small winged creature.
It made me wonder, could the declining populations be down to a deep sunconscious fear of being stung? could this be why we as a population hold an unintentional grudge towards the species?
May this be the reason why the poor little bee is not getting the protection it deserves?
Myself, having never been stung, have always looked on at the bee with fondness and with a general interest in it's busy ways.
The Honey bee can travel up to 1 km per day whilst foraging for food, and up to 5kms when needed.
As I have no doubt you are well aware the bee provides the vital service of pollination to the environment, in fact without them Albert Einstein has famously said that humans would begin to die out four years after their demise.
This strikes me as alarming, especially having done research into bee numbers prior to the writing of this article.
There are currenlty 24,000 bee hives in the country, which might seem a lot, but not when you hear of previous numbers.
Since 1980 alone there has been a 50% decline in populations of Ireland's 42 bee species. Thats half the population in 37 years!
30% of these species are threatened with extinction, with 6 critically endangered. 10 other species are also listed as endangered as 14 sepcies as vulnerable.
In fact two species have become extinct within the past 80 years.
To me it is almost as if history is repeating itself, with Irish honey bees numbers declining so drastically back between both world wars.
This led to the country having to import species from france, Holland, Italy and Russia.Â Will we have to do this again in the future?
There are many factors having contributed to this huge decline, these include: habitat loss, fragmentation, degradation, decline in wildlfower numbers, weedkillers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, disease and climate change.
This therefore means we as a population, and farmers in particular have caused a significant impact.
Habitats have been lost to bees due to farmers digging out hedgrerows, uprooting trees and fencing lands, rendering the bees homeless.
This problem has been recitified in a way with conservation schemes now in place, offering compansation to farmers who act to protect the species.
There are many other factors though, the switch from mainly hay production to silage has greatly affected numbers. This is due to decreased wildflower numbers, which has led to increased competition for food among the bees.
Also affecting the populations is climate chaneg course, also caused directly by us as a population.
While the use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and weedkillers have led to bees becoming posioned while simply looking to carry out their daily chore, pollination.
I never deemed this a huge problem myself, until at the weekend i was walking past an area I had recently sprayed for weeds. Upon inspection i noticed the bodies of 2-3 dead bees, which really highlighted to me the dangers facing them.
Not only are we destroying their homes, we are posioning their foods.
I know that science and technology are extremely advanced now, and they say that in the development stage is a robotic bee which can pollinate up to twices as much as a real bee.
I also did hear that they are experimenting with cross breeding different breeds of bee to find a more durable breed, but what about the poor originals? will we just forget about them completely now?
I am not suggesting that we go over the top in their protection,Â so much thatÂ you crash your car in order to avoid hitting one.
I am merely suggesting that maybe we forget about our irrational fears, and think about the poor little creature who is under more threat than we are, when all it wants to do is pollinate in peace.
Next time you spray for weeds, make sure it's not close to where a bee may pollinate, or next time you think about removing hedgerows think of the little bee worried about the existance of him and his species as a whole.
We've already lost them once, and were lucky they were returned successfully, we might not be that lucky again.