Human Interaction with Bees

In my final paper, I will explore the interactions between humans and bees. I plan to focus on the relationship between human civilization and the bee population and analyze how they affect each other intentionally as well as unintentionally. In general, humans are the ones who benefit most in this relationship, and yet many people are unaware of the current problems that bees face. Ever since World War 2, bee populations nationwide have been falling.

Bees are very profitable in places that produce a lot of honey, like the Dakotas and California. They are also profitable to business that rent bees for farmers with crops such as almonds and grapes. Each year in the US, over half a billion dollars in pollination fees are collected (USDA). As bee populations continue to drop, these pollination fees are rising (USDA). With these things in mind, it makes sense that human society would want the bee population to increase. An increase in the bee population would allow pollination and possibly honey prices to drop, which in turn would allow prices of certain foods to drop as well. With more food at a lower price, human society as a whole will benefit.

Farms have more of an affect on bees than just that, though. Many pesticides are toxic to bees. A few of these highly toxic pesticides have been banned in the US, but not all of them. One family of these pesticides are neonicotinoids. Studies have shown that these pesticides are addictive and harmful to bees (The Guardian). There has been a lot of controversy over whether or not these pesticides are truly harmful to bees, but the European Union has decided to put a two year long ban on some of these pesticides. Unfortunately, certain member states have been allowing their farmers to continue the use of those pesticides, undermining the benefits of the ban (EurActiv). After the two-year ban, the EU is planning to reevaluate the effects of the pesticides and decide whether or not to allow their use.

Although there is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of pesticides, studies are showing that their very well may be a link between neonicotinoids and the more recent declines in the bee populations. It is strange to see that people are willing to continue using these products despite the fact that bees are an extremely important aspect of our lives. Keeping pesticide companies in business is not as important as being able to feed future generations.

Bees and humans also affect each other on a much smaller scale. Besides the benefits of using bees as a technology for business, bees also allow for pollination of personal and community gardens. Despite this, when people see a bee hive near their house, they tend to poison the bees and burn the hive. While bees are an important part of the garden, people fear being stung and so they see the bees as threats to their families. In reality, those bees are doing nature a favor and should be protected.


USDA – http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1679173/special-article-september_-pollinator-service-market-4-.pdf

The Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/22/bees-may-become-addicted-to-nicotine-like-pesticides-study-finds

EurActiv – http://www.euractiv.com/sections/agriculture-food/bee-activist-eu-ban-neonicotinoids-undermined-national-derogations-308578

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