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Declining bee populations and its global impact - Research Paper Example

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28 September 2012. Causes and Effects of the Decline in Bee Population Causes of the Decline in Bee Population In the last decade, there has been a noticeable decline in the bee population all over the world in general and in the USA in particular…
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Download file to see previous pages “The findings place a massive question mark over the increasingly controversial compounds, now the fastest growing family of insecticides in the world” (McCarthy). Exposure to the neonicotinoid insecticides is harmful for both the wild bumble bees and the honey bees. The compounds affect the bees by attacking their central nervous system. The quality of neonicotinoids that makes them potentially harmful for the bees is that these pesticides are systemic in nature, which is why they are consumed up by every part of the plant rather than just sitting on the plant’s surface. Like every part, the pesticides are also absorbed by the plant’s pollen as well as nectar. Accordingly, the bees ingest the pesticides as they carry the pollens despite they were not meant to be the original targets. Over the last decade, use of these compounds has caused a “colony collapse disorder” in the USA which is a condition that causes full beehive population to vanish in no time. One of the two studies was conducted by the researchers from the University of Stirling. In the year 2010, almost 30% of the total cropland in the UK was treated with pesticides. The second study was conducted by the researchers belonging to the National Institute for Agronomic Research in Avignon in France under the leadership of Mikael Henry. These researchers studied the effects of the bees’ exposure to thiamethoxam which is a neonicotinid product. As a result of their research, the team found that even sub-lethal doses of the neonicotinid product have a serious impact on the homing abilities of the bees of the level that the bees developed a two to three times higher tendency of dying as compared to the untreated bees. The French researchers said, “Non-lethal exposure... causes high mortality due to homing failure, at levels that could put a colony at risk of collapse” (The French researchers cited in Rose). Since the researches are very recent and no subsequent results have surfaced to support or contradict the findings of these studies, this stage is preliminary to develop an utmost belief in the fact that neonicotinids are harmful for the health of the bees. Nevertheless, they should be avoided until proven harmless by future research. Professor David Goulson from the University of Stirling shares his view about this matter in these words, “I personally would like to see them not being used until more research has been done. If it confirms what we’ve found, then they certainly shouldn’t be used when they’re going to be fed on by bees” (Goulson cited in Zimmer). Many biologists attribute the decline of bee population to the increase in global warming as it creates the environmental conditions suitable for the growth of such pathogens as fungi, mites, and viruses which are potentially harmful for the bee colonies. In the recent years, frequent fluctuations between the hot and cold weather have been experienced. These weather fluctuations wreak havoc on the bees since they are used to living in the patterns of consistent seasonal weather. The weather sensitive bees cannot survive in the rapidly changing environment. More research is being conducted in order to find the causes of decline of the bee population. According to Galen Dively, an entomologist from the University of Maryland, “We’re going to see a lot of money poured into this problem. What we’re looking for is some commonality which can lead us to a cause” ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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