I was looking at CNN.com earlier this morning when I came across an article in the technology section that caught my attention. It was an article about scientist in Austrailia who mananged to attach miniature tracking devices on the backs of honey bees to track their movements in an attempt to figure out what different things in their environment are stressors. It's believed that the device would be able to narrow down what the stressors are in a particular environment because bees follow a certain pattern and never deviate from it.
So if something were a strong enough stressor to make them deviate from their typical route, scientest could then go out in nature and discover what it was that may have caused the flight plan of the bee to change based on when it changed it's route.
The United States government took particular interest in this because the last few years we have seen a sharp decline in honey bee populations in America, especially among commercial bee keepers. I think I saw a stat in the article that said between the years of April 2014 and April 2015 commercial keepers lost 42.1 percent of their colonies! That's a staggering loss for the reason that honey bees are important to our environment since they are responsible for cross polinating so many of our plants and crops.
I think that the number is somewhere around 90, which is the number of crops that Bees are responsible for polinating and growing in North America. For those of you who don't care or see the significance of the honey bee, let me translate that for you. Without the honey bee, we starve and die! Yes, that sounds drastic but it's pretty accurate.
That little annoying insect that is known for its painful sting and annoys you while you're out in your garden our at the park on a nice summer or spring day is responsible for feeding you. Without honey bees our agricultural framework pretty much collapses. And with numbers such as a 42.1 percent decline in colonies that exist in a controlled environment, think about what must be happening out in nature for those in the wild which have to deal with natural predators, parasites, pesticides and people destroying their natural habitats. This is an alarming issue, and it's flown virtually under the radar.
I eat honey on many things, and after reading that article I instantly had a new found respect for it and it legitimately made me think of it as more than a natural sweetener or just a healthy condiment. You think we have a hunger issue around the globe and in our country now with all the malnurtured children and people living in poverty, let the honey bee go extinct and watch what happens to the fabric of our lives. I never thought about it before, but the same creature that I'm allergic to, carries a lot of responsibility or weight in the world and he's alot more important than I thought.
So the next time you see a bee flying around, instead of killing it or thinking how annoying it is, think about what you won't have to eat if he ceased to fly around. People, we need to wake up and start taking care of our environment and all the little beings that inhabit it, or we may find ourselves without one. Because it seems like insects like bees, are the building blocks upon which we build part of our lives.