The Honey Bee Grade 12 Environmental Management
Honey Bees Make Honey • Honey has natural preservatives and bacteria cannot grow on it • 20 000 – 50 000 bees in a hive during the summer • It takes 556 worker bees visiting 2 million flowers to make 1 lb. of honey • Its delicious! Source: Ontario Beekeepers Association
Bee Importance as Pollinators • Seventy of the top 100 human food crops are pollinated by bees • Supply 90 percent of the world nutrition or pollinate $350 billion worth in global food • A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers per day Bees are extremely important to our existence! Source: EcoNews
Types of Honey Bees • Queen • Drones • Workers
The Queen • Only she can lay eggs, approx. 1500 eggs per day • She uses pheromones to communicate and organize her hive • She eats royal jelly – a milky substanceproduced by the workers Source: Ontario Beekeepers Association
Drones • Male bees – they do not have a stinger and have larger eyes than workers • Can fly 14 kms away from hive • They develop from eggs that have not been fertilized • Their job is to impregnate a queen from different hives • Meet other drones in “drone congregations” to communicate – • Die after breeding, a live for approx. 90 days. • Get kicked out of the hive in the fall – free loaders Source: Ontario Beekeepers Association
Worker Bees • All females • Duties include cleaning, feeding the baby bees, feeding and taking care of the queen, packing pollen and nectar into cells, capping cells, building and repairing honeycombs, fanning to cool the hive and guarding the hive • Their flying radius is 7 km and must gather food within that area Source: Ontario Beekeepers Association
Bee Colony Collapse • 250 billion honeybees have died as a result of planetary mismanagement by humans • Typically 5 -10% of bees within a colony will die off each winter • Globally, since 2006 there has been 30 -40% die offs of bees • Some beekeepers have lost 90% of their populations • And no one really has the answer why!!
Time Magazine Headline: Aug 19th – 2013 The Worlds Largest New Magazine – 25 million readers
Dangerous Issue • Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has created a task force to identify the problem and identify possible solutions • Though the cancelled gas plants gave you a Headache?
2 main theories Varroa Mites Neonicotinoids
Varroa mites • Suck the blood of drones and developing bees • Emerging bees have missing legs • Takes 1000 mites to kill 50 000 honey bees • North American beekeepers do not think mites are killing their bees
Neonictonoids • An insecticide coating for grain seeds to be planted • The most widely used insecticide in the world making up 80% of all seed treatments – a $1.2 billion industry • Attack the central nervous system of insects • Watch CBC Video • Some colonies have 70% of bees testing positive for neonictonoids residues
Results: The E.U • Has put a two – year moratorium (a complete ban) on all neonictonoids within the European Union • As a result Bayer CropScienceof Germany and Syngenta of Switzerland, have brought legal action against the EU’s decision= sueing • Claim neonictonoids when used properly, pose no risk – the science is flawed • “The Commission should now take the opportunity to address the real reasons for bee health decline: disease, viruses and loss of habitat and nutrition.“ Luke Gibbs, Syngenta
Conclusion - • Colony collapse of honey bees is a global issue that needs to remedied quickly • The large multi-national seed corporations are involved (Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Land O Lakes) - $50 Billion in annual sales • The EU moratorium in Aug, 2013 on neonictonoids has resulted in two lawsuits against the European Union • What are your thoughts?