Sunday Feature: The humble bee is making a recovery in the US and it’s a help for us all


In this week's Sunday Feature, we look at the welcoming increase of honeybee populations.

Sunday Feature: The humble bee is making a recovery in the US and it’s a help for us all

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In this week's Sunday Feature, we look at the welcoming increase of honeybee populations.

We all hold a collective responsibility when it comes to saving the honeybee.

After all, they do place food on our tables, as pollination is a major driver behind our food chain.

In fact, it accounts for 33% of the human food supply chain.

Their abilities of this species goes even further than food production to manufacturing, medical applications and craft.

Some crops including almonds depend entirely on the process of pollination, conducted by honeybees.

A worrying decline

A decline in population has been a worrying concern for some time now, as disease outbreaks, global warming, nutritional stress, starvation, insufficient forage, chemical usage; pesticides and habitat loss, have been identified as just some of the facts threatening the survival of the populations.

Diseases and parasites have caused the populations to dwindle over the past number of decades, really forcing keepers and scientists to question the future of the species.

Mites have really forced bee-keepers to put their thinking caps on, since 1987 in the US.

Reports published as recent as this week; suggest that they are starting to make a comeback in U.S. territory, as the number of colonies has significantly jumped.

For some time it was deemed nothing other than a ‘crisis’.

Growth of Populations

The survey was released the U.S. Department of Agriculture, unveiled that colony numbers rose by 3% to 2.89 million.

Since 1990, the www.nrdc.org reports, 25% of managed honey bee populations have disappeared.

Alarm bells started to ring in America in 2006. European keepers also were faced with similar circumstances.

The population experienced a 90% decline over the past two decades.

Global declines showcase the disadvantages of placing dependence on one species.

As keepers counted notable losses last year, the addition of extra bees as replacements has been a factor identified that assisted with the change in numbers.

Colony collapse as reported by the WashingtonPost, results in keepers reflecting on their bee-keeping philosophy and strategies in place.

Many have responded by implementing changes to hives; including improvement of conditions.

Back on Irish Soil

Taking this matter in the hands of Irish people, The Irish Department of Environment has popped a value of €53 million annually on the bee-sector.

While there are many different species of honeybees in Ireland, Apis Mellifera is the one species to be found on our island.

A report issued by Biodiversity Ireland, gives an overview of the current situation throughout the Irish Ireland.

Managed hives of Honeybees in Ireland have declined due to the parasitic mite Varroa Desctructor in1996.

The report makes the suggestion that sustainable measures can be taken, if the level of overwintering losses remain below 15%.

An estimated 24,000 hives are to be found throughout Irish, reports Biodiversity Ireland, with each of these hives containing up to 80,000 honeybees.

As part of their nature, honeybees stick out their tongue once they come in contact with nectar, according to Biodiversity Ireland.

The Stealthy Insect Sensor Project trained the species to detective explosives, confirming they have much more potential than just food producers, but they also have a high level of intelligence.

One interesting fact is that, honeybees only get one chance at life, as once these lose their sting, they die.

Save Bees

It is in people’s best interests to start to look at conservation and preservation methods; to prevent the bee from going into further decline.

The population is only going to grow if we help it to.

Making the environment bee-friendly, where the population can survive and thrive is of paramount importance.

Turning our attention to habitat maintenance and suitable food plants lay the foundations to this welcomed approach.

White clover, for some time now has been important for the survival of species, including the honeybee, but also the bumblebee.

Make your mark by purchasing honey sourced from local producers; attend organisations events and information sittings and possibly even delving into bee-keeping yourself, once you have obtained relevant knowledge.

Everything has got a role to play in terms of paving paths for their survival.

Once the bees disappear, so too does our food supply.

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