By Nikki Harper, Wake Up World
It has been more than twenty years since the first alarming reports of declining bee numbers began to surface, and thirteen years since the first incidents of colony collapse disorder were reported . Statistics show that honeybee populations in the United States, for example, have declined from around 6 million hives in 1947 to 2.4 million hives in 2008, a reduction of some 60% .
We have had two decades in which to understand how to protect our precious bee populations – and yet, here we are in 2019 and around the world, mass bee deaths continue as pesticide use increases, toxicity increases and regulation decreases. This month, news from three different countries, Brazil, Russia and the US, highlights three different kinds of problems we’re still facing:
Mass Bee Die-offs in Russia: Ineffective Pesticide Regulation
This summer, mass bee die-offs were recorded in 24 out of Russia’s 85 regions, mostly in the central and southern area . Since honey forms an important part of Russia’s economy, this is set to have financial implications, but bees are also vital for the pollination of some of Russia’s key food staples, including buckwheat.
Some at Russia’s state agricultural watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, are frustrated that they have had to relinquish most of their power to regulate pesticide use, and many people locally blame pesticide misuse for the bee deaths. Experts agree that unregulated pesticide use most likely plays a part in the Russian bee die-offs, although this must be seen in the context of habitat loss, disease and climate change also being contributing factors .