What is killing off the bees?

March 21, 2016
By Elissa Kim Saint Brendan School  8th grade

By Elissa Kim
Saint Brendan School
8th grade

Bees are a crucial component of our ecosystem. From honey bees to bumblebees, these insects are one of the most important sources of plant life and survival for all species.

According to Time magazine, over 75% of different crops rely on bees, butterflies, and other types of insects to pollinate them. Without these creatures, plant life would be nearly impossible to thrive and support the lives of animals and humans.

However, for about a decade, bees have been dying off at an unexpected rate (up to 30% of all bees die per year). For many years, people have not known why these bees were dying so quickly, but recently, scientists have uncovered four main reasons.

The first reason is land-use changes. As the population of Earth grows, much land has been converted to use for agriculture. This conversion has destroyed the diverse habitats of bees, which have been replaced by new soil for corn and other cash crops. Bees survive in a habitat with various vegetation, but the changes made to this habitat have lowered the standard homes of the insects.

The second reason is pesticide use. Farmers use pesticides to kill off unwanted insects that destroy their crops. However, certain pesticides, like neonicotinoids, can kill wanted insects and bugs like bees. The chemical used in these pesticides have lethal effects on bees that continue to cause the death of hundreds of bees.

The third reason is parasites. Invasive parasites have been an astonishing reason for the death of many bees worldwide. A wide range of these microscopic creatures weakens the bees, which causes the bees to lose the ability to fly and leaves them susceptible to other dangers.

Lastly, the fourth reason is climate change. For years, global warming has affected Earth’s ecosystems and creatures. Rising global temperatures have greatly changed the habitats where bees and other pollinators can survive. The rise in temperature limits the range of habitats the bees can live in, forcing them to move to colder regions. Scientists have discovered that although other animals like lobsters are moving north, the habitat of bees are getting shorter from the south.

Albert Einstein once said, “If the bees disappear from the surface of the globe, then man will only have 4 years of life left. No more bees, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” This may not hold one-hundred percent truth, but without bees in the world, most living creatures are most likely to die along with them. These four reasons serve as only some of many reasons why bees are dying every year.


  1. Bruce Levinson

    March 22, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    Bees are being harmed by the varroa destructor mite which spreads Deformed Wing Virus, not neonicotoinoids. Please see the Nature article here, http://www.thecre.com/oira_pd/?p=12682

  2. Sivakumar

    March 22, 2016 at 9:12 PM

    A good call, a study missed my the major population. Highly appreciate the studies done.. However, is there a way out in this way moving world in the opposite direction.

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