Yesterday, reading in the garden and enjoying the spring sunshine, an abnormally large bumble bee annoyingly buzzed around me, and I was forced to swat it away. Browsing online that evening, I came across the news of a recent study, explaining that pesticides indirectly threatened the future of the species’ population.
Nick Collins, writes for the Telegraph:
A pair of studies relating to honey and bumble bees found that pesticides which affect the insects’ nervous system could be in danger of wiping out entire colonies.
Although strict limits prevent farmers from using insecticides strong enough to kill bees, the research raises fears that the chemicals could be indirectly putting them at risk by modifying their behaviour.
Prof Dave Goulson of Stirling University, co-author of the study on bumble bees, said the continued use of the pesticides on flowering crops “clearly poses a threat to their health and urgently needs to be re-evaluated.”
Full article available here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/9173586/Pesticides-harming-bee-populations-researchers-suggest.html
The argument that pesticides somehow threaten biodiversity is an old one, but its importance is underlined when it is placed in a small, local context. Drawing away from my book to watch the yellow and black insect flit amongst the flowers, taking its time to choose a perfect landing spot full of perfect pollen, struck a chord with me.
Bees might not be essential to our daily lives, they may be an annoyance more often than not, but they are an integral part of nature’s perfectly interlinked web. They may seem a small piece of the wonderful mosaic that is the natural world, but if we allow human endeavour to keep taking away individual pieces of that picture, before long that image will far less vibrant.
The danger posed to the bees could, eventually, have even grander consequences. Its makes you wonder how many more pieces of nature’s mosaic will have to be taken away before people realise that the great diversity of nature, from sweeping forests to the smallest flying insect, is no longer there.