Bees Dying?

Are you generally concerned about bees dying and bee decline?   Have you found dead bees?

Certainly, all creatures live and die, but there is normal rate of death, bees dying in suspicious circumstances, and then there is the general worrying decline of bees and other pollinators.

In summary, this website looks at the following issues:

  • pesticide poisoning - slow death (known as chronic mortality) or very fast and sudden/immediate death (known as acute mortality).
  • natural death - all creatures die for various reasons: age, predator attack, accident, parasites and so on.
  • general bee and pollinator decline - perhaps due to a combination of factors, such as habitat loss, disease, mites and so on, but also including pesticides, and mostly due to the activity of humans.

Below you will find links relating to each of the themes above.

Bees Dying From Pesticide Poisoning

There is concern about a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids.  They, and other pesticides, have been linked to colony collapse disorder, and certainly neonicotinoids are the primary suspect in large scale honey bee deaths and sudden colony losses. 

As I write in May 2014, I have been investigating this issue and campaigning for over 5 years.  There is evidence across the globe that neonicotinoids kill bees.  For further resources on this website, many referencing scientific studies and agrochemical company literature, see the following:

Bees Dying From Natural Causes

You may have found some dead bees.  It may be perfectly natural, or there may be a problem.  For example, predator attack within a bumblebee nest can result in a small number of dead bumblebees around the nest entrance.  This a normal occurence and there is little you can do about it.  In this case, it may be that the colony will thrive - they are simply removing dead bees to preserve hygiene within the nest.

Take a look at my page for further information: Dead Bees. 

If you have found a bedraggled looking bee that may benefit from your help, take a look at my page explaining what to do if you have found a bee.

I would also advocate leaving bumblebee nests alone.  It is disappointing to learn of people having bumblebee nests (or solitary bee nests) destroyed unecessarily, in the fear of being stung, despite the fact that most wild bees are docile, and some cannot sting.  In addition to which, nests are often temporary!

General Bee Decline

There are a variety of reasons why bees are dying or declining, and they can be traced to man’s activities. Hence, is it not right that we humans make efforts to put things right?

Habitat destruction, intensive farming practices, pesticide use, even poor beekeeping practice….the list goes on. Get more background information here.

Increasingly, however, I'm also becoming a little concerned about imports of certain species of lime trees that may be having a negative effective on some bees.  Some lime trees are loved by bees, but perhaps not all! 

Diseases are a cause for concern too - however, I am also worried that here again, neonicotinoids play a role.

Then there is the issue of commercial rearing of bumblebees and potential spread of diseases to other bees, and the unnecessary destruction of bee nests.

To investigate these issues further, take a look at these links:

Wild Bees And Other Insect Pollinators

Many of the concerns about bees dying are associated with honey bees. Increasingly, however, it is recognised that almost all of our pollinators are in trouble.

Honey bees are very important, and they are enchanting creatures, but they do not pollinate everything (contrary to belief among some). Hence we should look after other pollinators too.  This is important to recognise, because:

  • when governments offer financial assistance to beekeepers this will help honey bees only.
  • when governments offer assistance to make it easier for agrochemical companies to produce their 'bee medicines', again, this targets honey bees (and is a controversial policy in any case - see this page about honey bee health).
  • producing more honey bee colonies could give a false impression regarding the health of the environment and could even mislead people into thinking 'all is well with pollinators'.  Unfortunately, whilst we can breed more honey bees, we cannot breed more of every other pollinating bee, beetle, butterfly or bug. As an example, read more about the status of bumblebees, and other insect pollinators. Find out why wild bees are such important pollinators.

However, this is not to say that honey bees do not matter, or should be viewed as the enemy.  See my page: why honey bees matter.

What can YOU do to help prevent more bees dying?

Together we make a difference!  And it's not rocket science... three basic things you can do are:

include plants for bees in your garden (ensure they are pesticide free)

  • don't use pesticides
  • spread the word

See these links:

How do neonicotinoids work to kill insects like bees? 

Manufacturers provide clues!



Tom Theobald Video

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