Honeybees’ population has been dramatically dropping since the 1990s. Environment lacking in diversity, pesticide problems, colony collapse and parasites are reported as some of the main factors leading to the bee crisis. Bees become stressed, sick and weakened under these conditions. During winter the temperature fluctuations leads to honeybees’ cluster to loosen. When sudden temperature drop to below 0°C occurs, bees may be stuck and cannot return to their cluster, and are then starved to death. (Slosiarek, 2014)
“Honey bees remain the most economically valuable pollinators for crop monocultures worldwide. Yields of certain fruit, seed and nut crops decrease by more than 90% without these highly efficient pollinators.” (UNEP, 2010, p.2)
Figure 1: Summary of the total overwinter colony losses (October 1 – April 1) of managed honey bee colonies in the United States across nine annual national surveys. The acceptable range is the average percentage of acceptable colony losses declared by the survey participants in each year of the survey.
Figure 2: Causes of bee death
The bee crisis has become a global issue, many NGOs have been looking for solutions to the bee crisis in order to deal with food crisis. These two issues are closely related, where the bee crisis is always located under the category sustainable food and technology.
Reported in a news article that an academic journal (Breeze, 2014) has pointed out more than half of the European countries do not have enough bees for crop pollination. “The shortage of honey bees is particularly acute in the UK which only has a quarter of the bees it needs for crop pollination.” (Carrington, 2014)
Figure 3: Friends of Earth Bee Action
Figure 4: Greenpeace Save the Bees
Keeping bees in cities
Urban beekeeping is a practice to connect urbanised area with the nature. By 2050, 75% of population will be living in cities. That is important to reconnect people in cities with the nature. Promoting urban beekeeping, Bejnamin from Urban Bees gave a talk in 2014. (The Urban Buzz: Alison Benjamin at TEDxWarwick, 2014) Bee keeping is a chance for people to start a journey to change our relationship with nature. This is also a new way for people to feel and think how urban wildlife can be achieved. Actually, there are a lot of urban insect food, flowers, plants, trees are “supermarkets” to bees. Bees act as the messenger of life, and great ambassador for nature.
Urban beekeeping can be achieved by building living roofs on new and old buildings, putting patchworks of bee-friendly gardens and growing flowers through the streets. Also, connecting people with nature hugely benefits human health physically and mentally.
Figure 5: The Urban Buzz: Alison Benjamin at TEDxWarwick 2014
Figure 6: Honey, Please Don’t Go
Figure 7: Save the Bees
Figure 8: Build a Bee-Friendly Landscape
Figure 9: Creating a Bee-Friendly Garden
Figure 10: Disappearing Bees
Agricultural Policies Exacerbate Honeybee Pollination Service Supply-Demand Mismatches Across Europe. (2014). PLoS ONE, 9(2), p.e91459.
Baldock, K. (2017). Can cities save bees? How can urban habitats be made to serve pollinator conservation? How can that story be better told? – The Nature of Cities. [online] The Nature of Cities. Available at: https://www.thenatureofcities.com/2016/01/20/can-cities-save-bees-how-can-urban-habitats-be-made-to-serve-pollinator-conservation-how-can-that-story-be-better-told/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
Bumblebeeconservation.org. (2017). Why bees need help | Bumblebee Conservation Trust. [online] Available at: https://bumblebeeconservation.org/about-bees/why-bees-need-help/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
Design, W. (2017). British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) – Supporting honey bees in Britain. [online] Bbka.org.uk. Available at: http://www.bbka.org.uk/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
Friends of the Earth. (2017). Bee Action. [online] Available at: http://www.foe.org/projects/food-and-technology/beeaction [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
Global Research. (2017). Death and Extinction of the Bees. [online] Available at: http://www.globalresearch.ca/death-and-extinction-of-the-bees/5375684 [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
Greenpeace USA. (2017). Save the Bees. [online] Available at: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/sustainable-agriculture/save-the-bees/ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
Rifai, R. (2017). Q&A: Bee crisis stinging world food production. Aljazeera. [online] Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/08/qa-bee-crisis-stinging-world-food-production-150806155504134.html [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
The Gazette, (2014). Winter stings Iowa’s honey bee population. [online] Available at: http://www.thegazette.com/2014/03/23/winter-stings-iowas-honey-bee-population-2 [Accessed 9 Mar 2017].
The Urban Buzz: Alison Benjamin at TEDxWarwick 2014. (2014). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h86xpqeOZiQ [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), (2010). UNEP Emerging Issues: Global Honey Bee Colony Disorder and Other Threats to Insect Pollinators. [online] Kenya: UNEP, p.2. Available at: https://wedocs.unep.org/rest/bitstreams/14378/retrieve [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
Urban Bees. (2017). Urban Bees helping bees in the city. [online] Available at: http://www.urbanbees.co.uk [Accessed 9 Mar. 2017].
Featured Image: If we die, we are taking you with us (Edited) (https://i1.wp.com/payload175.cargocollective.com/1/12/398364/5818080/bees_2.jpg)
Figure 1: Summary of the total overwinter colony losses (October 1 – April 1) of managed honey bee colonies in the United States across nine annual national surveys. The acceptable range is the average percentage of acceptable colony losses declared by the survey participants in each year of the survey. (https://beeinformed.org/2016/05/10/nations-beekeepers-lost-44-percent-of-bees-in-2015-16/)
Figure 2: Causes of bee death (https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/332914597436004859/)
Figure 3: Friends of Earth Bee Action (http://www.foe.org/projects/food-and-technology/beeaction)
Figure 4: Greenpeace Save the Bees (http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/sustainable-agriculture/save-the-bees/)
Figure 5: The Urban Buzz: Alison Benjamin at TEDxWarwick 2014 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h86xpqeOZiQ)
Figure 6: Honey, Please Don’t Go (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/b5/6b/02/b56b02f9d7e3e447bfa665e3f40459d3.jpg)
Figure 7: Save the Bees (https://i1.wp.com/smarthive.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/save-the-bees-poster.jpg)
Figure 8: Build a Bee-Friendly Landscape (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/52/2a/99/522a995530c7c32d0c69d5e1913cd3b4.jpg)
Figure 9: Creating a Bee-Friendly Garden (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/76/bb/65/76bb6558bf7930bd57fc7a061d4e949d.jpg)
Figure 10: Disappearing Bees (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/a5/8f/86/a58f86071a06c90fed5fcb1bd939b3f5.jpg)