Buzz Off

Topics: Beekeeping, Colony collapse disorder, Pollination Pages: 7 (2478 words) Published: April 19, 2010
Priscilla Council

Biology 1110

February 23, 2010

Research Assignment

Where Have All the Bees Gone?

Morgan E. Peck

Discover Magazine

2009

Summary

Each year since 2006, bees have gradually been disappearing from their hives or dying off. Bees have died off before in the past. This is called colony collapse disorder or CCD. In the past CCD was cause by mites or infections, but now this is caused because of the commercial agricultural farmers. Bees play a key part in pollination. When the crops are pollinated by the bees, they are capable of producing the fruits or vegetables the human population eats. Farmers primarily depend upon the bees to pollinate their crops. The honeybees were the most adaptable bees out there because they would pollinate almost any of the plants. Other bees were only attracted to specific plants or flowers. Since the farmers want more production from their crops, they have resulted to commercial beekeepers for the answers. These beekeepers produce mass quantities of bees to keep up with the demand of the agricultural industry. These honeybees have been genetically engineered to be attracted to specific types of plants or trees. The bees would spend time surrounded by nothing but a specific type of plant, whether it is an apple orchard or nut trees. After time has passed the bees would be attracted to that specific type of tree. This would make the farmers more eager to bring these honeybees to their farm and pollinate their crop. With more pollination came more yield, and that in ensured more income for the farmers.

Before the 20th Century the queen would mate with multiple male drones from other colonies, ensuring the survival fitness of the species and colonies. Since commercial beekeepers have came into the picture the queens are only allowed to mate with male drones that are producing offspring that are better pollinators. This process as produced a sort of inbreeding, where the queen does not have access to outside colonies, causing a population of sickly bees that are not capable of fighting off diseases or resisting chemicals. These commercial bees are worked so hard because they are squeezed into wooden hives, and then loaded onto the back of a truck to be shipped from farm to farm pollinating each one. After pollinating the crops in the spring and producing honey they are shipped to a sandy location near San Francisco where they are fed on a diet of corn syrup until winter is over, they the process starts all over again.

These bees require nutrients just like us that are only found in the pollen they collect form the trees and flowers. Without this nutrient, they become sick and susceptible to sickness and infection. With some many bees going into a farm to pollinate the trees, the food is running thin. Each bee has to fight in order to survive. In this type of in environment it is no wonder why the bees do not survive the winter. Bees can not be worked and worked and expected to continue working without consequences. Since there is such a decline in the honeybee population many scientists are trying to repopulate by collecting wild honeybees and queens and taking them to smaller beekeepers that have more natural approaches to pollinating farms. Hopefully this will bring a variety of bees back into the population and end the disappearances.

My Evaluation

What the agricultural industry is doing to these honeybees is terrible. The honeybees are enslaved unwillingly into these colonies to pollinate and collect honey for the human population. Before people came up with this brilliant plan to house bees on huge wooden hives for the some purpose of our benefit, bees were pollinating plants and trees just fine without our help. The bees were healthy and in mass numbers. Since then, the numbers of the bees have gone done. I think the problem is us as humans. If we just leave them alone they would do the job that they have been doing for millions of...
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