The Common Sense of Bee Decline

by Adam Doklovic, Agribusiness and Applied Economics | Mansfield, Ohio

For the past decade the decline in honey bee population has been debated, not just between scientists and environmentalists but between the general public. Everyone has a theory and everyone has a reason for the decline. While these theories have been scientifically tested there is still a debate on going about what to do about the decline in bee population. But that debate is for another day because I am going to talk about a recent story I read on why common sense can help our bee population.

In late October, Dorcester County in South Carolina sprayed Naled insecticide for mosquitoes that vector the Zika virus, even though there were no confirmed reports of Zika in South Carolina. Instead of the normal spray trucks that spray for mosquitoes, they decided to use airplanes to cover more ground. They sprayed an insecticide that kills mosquitoes instantly, however the insecticide also kills honey bees. A lot of the bee farmers in the area did not know about this and were not aware they needed to cover their hives to prevent this instant death.

Later that day the bee farmers went out to check out their hives and were surprised to see most of their bees were dead. It was estimated that over 2.5 million honey bees died that day. The farmers were angered not about the income they lost by not being able to sell their honey in the fall but the amount of their bees that died with an already declining population.

Honey bees are crucial to our environment and common sense tells us that we need to be more aware of other factors that can be detrimental the honey bee population.

Washington Post > ‘Like it’s been nuked’: Millions of bees dead after South Carolina sprays for Zika mosquitoes

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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