But, it seems, these crucial insects aren’t doing very well. A study published today in the journal One Earth reveals that in recent decades, the number of bee species reported in the wild has declined globally. The sharpest decrease occurred between 2006 and 2015, with roughly 25 percent fewer species spotted—even as sightings by citizen scientists were increasing rapidly.
Halictid bees—also called sweat bees for their attraction to our perspiration—pollinate important crops such as alfalfa, sunflowers, and cherries. Observations of these tiny metallic fliers have fallen by 17 percent since the 1990s, the study found. Bees in the rare Melittidae family, which provide us with blueberries, cranberries, and orchids, have plummeted by as much as 41 percent. (The world’s bees are divided among seven families.)
Though lesser known, such wild bees supplement the work of honeybees in managed hives.
Currently in the Rangitikei, as in many other places, Roundup is the herbicide of choice for cleaning up weeds. Recently however, the World Health Organization (WHO) has taken recognition of the decades of independent research that warns of its health risk. WHO is warning people of the fact that it probably causes cancer. Check out the Glyphosate page on this site for further information on that.
Personally I approached the Rangitikei District Council (RDC) twelve months ago to warn them of these dangers and make known to them the vast amount of research that exists linking it with not only cancer but many other illnesses including birth defects. Now, add to this another damning factor … its toxicity to bees. Bees are essential for pollinating our plants. As the poster above conveys,experts confirm that if the bees die off, we humans could well follow. Our toxic environments are destroying the very organisms that ensure the continuation of life on planet earth.
That said, the RDC is not convinced by either the extensive research or any announcements by WHO. Currently in fact, going by the last time I heard them discuss this (March 2015) they are of the opinion that I am the only person in the Rangitikei who is concerned about this. We now have a petition that indicates there are in fact another 97 who are. Good news. If you are connected with the Rangitikei, spend any time visiting, live here or intend to, please consider signing the petition.
Watch for further updates and information on the role of bees in our food chain.