Is the end near?

A surprising twist

If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth,
man would have no more than four years to live.
No more bees, no more pollination... no more men!

Albert Einstein

The US is now losing about 35% of its honeybee colonies every winter. The same is happening in the UK and the rest of Europe.

One of the main reasons is loss of habitat. The UK alone lost 97% of its wildflowers meadows since the 1930s. But beside loss of habitat, disease and climate change it appears that a new kind of pesticide may be to blame. Neonicotinoid insecticides are increasingly used on crops and may provide the answer to why colonies of honeybees are collapsing, according to research by the US Department of Agriculture. The neurotoxins contained in these pesticides attack the insects' central nervous systems.
The worry is that bees absorb them and carry them back to heir hives or nests, spreading the effects even though they are not the target species.

But it is China that leads the way ahead. In the Sichuan province the main crop is pears but there are no bees. A blunderbuss approach to pesticides has all but wiped them out. Now thousands of villagers have to take their paintbrushes and pollinate their pear trees by hand.

Did you know that honeybees need to fly the equivalent of twice around the world to collect enough nector to make one jar of honey or
that they have five eyes?

More Interesting Facts  >>

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The Sunday Times, Ireland, 1.2.2009 & 23.1.2011
The Sunday Times, UK, 9.8.2015
National Trust Magazine, Spring 2016 (UK)
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