Have you noticed fewer bees in your garden recently? If so, then you’re not the only one. Bee populations of pretty much all kinds are in decline all over the world, and this could spell disaster for the long term health of our planet. This might sound a bit drastic, but when you consider just how important bees are to the pollination of so many plants, trees, fruits and vegetables, it could become an incredibly serious issue.
So what is it that’s causing our bees so much hassle? There are a few things really. Habitat destruction, disease and parasites (like the varroa mite) are three common problems, but one of the main causes of declining bee populations has been shown to be a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids, or neonics for short.
Neonics are used to treat pests on crops, plants, turf, etc, but they’re also incredibly harmful to bees. The pesticides (of which there are several types) affect every part of the plant, including pollen and nectar, so when a bee comes along to visit, it also becomes effected.
And these neonics do not agree with bees at all. They have a dramatic effect on their homing ability, breeding, memory, foraging skills, and more, eventually leading to their death. Some types of neonics have been banned in parts of Europe and the UK, but there are still some types being used, and many countries around the world have no restrictions on them at all.
The following infographic from Sun Leisure delves a bit deeper into the issue of neonics, detailing what and why they’re used, how they affect bees, and what some of the alternatives might be. It also looks at just how important bees are to us and the huge effect their extinction would have on the world.