Who’s the Pest?

Who’s the Pest?

by McKenna Whelan

It’s the month of May. Outside is colorful; the flowers in the garden are blooming, and everything is coming to life. Bees are a main contributor to this liveliness, yet it’s known that a massive amount of the bee population is dying. Bees aren’t just buzzing pests on a hot summer day, or only good for their sweet honey; they give us almost every bite of food we consume. Pollination insects may be small, but they have a huge impact; bees make fertilization of a plant possible.

How it works: a bee will collect nectar and pollen from the flower part of a plant. They take the male pollen from the stamens; and when they travel to another flower, this male pollen falls into the tip of the pistil, the female reproductive system of the flower. This process creates bountiful amounts of nutritious foods: cashews, broccoli, rice, corn, wheat, strawberries, watermelon, and the list goes on.

Why are massive of amounts of bees dying? In today’s agriculture pesticides are a common tool to rid of bugs feeding on their plants. These pesticides are being consumed by insects, poisoning them, and resulting in death. We need insects – they are a part of the life cycle and make Mother Nature what it is. Neonicotinoids are popular pesticides that affect the central nervous system of a bee. Neonicotinoids disable the bee from functioning, and after a few days they poison the bee to death.

As of May 2016, the State of Maryland banned bee killing pesticides with the concern of the decrease in the bee population. USDA informs, “Maryland’s Bee Keepers lost 60% of their bee population in the last year.”

This decision has brought some difficulties to the table when finding different farming techniques. Debate has risen between the EPA and Department of Maryland Agriculture. The Department of Maryland Agriculture denies the evidence of pesticides linking to the death of bees. Other studies have shown that pesticides are a source of death to insects. Ever since pesticides have become more used in modern agriculture, insects have been dying rapidly. The pesticides are toxic and there are consequences to their use.

“The tragedy of millions of bees dying is a real concern that needs not only attention but action,” Senior Madi Smedley communicates.  She goes on to express, “I think it’s a real threat and I’m hoping to see a change in the use of pesticides our country uses.”

Environmentalists and beekeepers have been nudging the EPA to do something about pesticides because of the dramatic loss, and they hope to prevent the disaster of extinction of the bees. Maryland has been supported by the Sierra Club, journalists, and other determined individuals to make this change. Luckily, Maryland isn’t the only one who is on board for change. France is discussing the ban of all bee-killing pesticides. With hard work, humans can try to redeem the life of bees.

Ciatations

“Maryland Chapter.” Sierra Club. N.p., 25 Apr. 2014. Web. 20 May 2016.

“The Harmful Effect of Pesticides on Honeybees.” Hive and Honey Apiary. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2016.

“Entomology: UGA Honey Bee Program: Bees, Beekeeping, and Pollination.”Pollination: Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2016.