We've heard a lot about the bee decline over the past few years, but should we really be worried? You bet, says the latest episode of AsapSCIENCE, and here's why.
Everyone knows that without bees, a whole bunch of crops would cease to reproduce. But when you think about 70 percent of the fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts we consume suddenly no longer being viable resources, that's pretty mind-blowing. That's around $200 billion in global agricultural revenue alone, not to mention, you know, all the scurvy we're going to get without access to all the apples, mangoes, strawberries, peaches and grapes we're used to.
The problem lies with commercially farmed bees, which are bred in bulk and seeded into crops all over the world. But they've been disappearing since 2006. According to the video above, one third of commercial bees have abandoned their hives and never returned, and some farmers even report over 90 percent of their bees going AWOL.
The controversy surrounding the so-called colony collapse disorder stems from the possible cause of the decline in commercial bee populations. Some of this decline can be blamed on viruses, but more recently, studies have suggested that one of the most common forms of insecticide, called neonicotinoids, is to blame. While this insecticide appears to be safe for bees - in the sense that it doesn't actively kill them - it seems to be messing with their central nervous systems. And they unwittingly bring contaminated honey back to the hive, spread this disorder to their colony-mates.
And if that continues to occur on a global scale? It's not just going to affect what we eat, but it'll affect what we wear, what we feed our livestock - which means milk, cheese, egg, and meat production is in jeopardy - and coffee? Say goodbye to your favourite beverage too. Watch the video above to find out more about the fallout of this potential crisis, and take a moment to send some good thoughts to those bees nearby silently doing their work. We really owe you one, little guys.