13 October 2013

The decrease in population of bees is a threat for our food

Bees are disappearing at a worrying rhythm :  50 to 90% disappeared at world level, according to a film produced with support from the French Ministry of Agriculture (Des abeilles et des hommes). In the US, DOA believes that the number of bee colonies fell from 4.5 million in 1945 to less than 2 million in 2007.

Bees have a central role in agriculture as they take care of close to 80% of plant pollination. Without bees, food production would fall to a level that would probably cause the end of humankind.

So, how did come to such a dramatic situation?

Three main mutually reinforcing causes explain the decrease of the population of bees:

  1. Our countryside has turned into a food desert for bees: the number of flowers has decreased in our landscapes because of extensive use of herbicides that eliminate them, of the development of monoculture and the replacement of green manure crops by artificial chemical fertiliser

  2. The poisoning of bees by pesticides

  3. The development of diseases and parasites of bees which is a consequence of the weakening of bees because of the increasing difficulty they are meeting to eat properly and of their aggression by herbicide and other chemical residues that can be found in plants. 

This situation reflects a dysfunctional food system which has unfortunately already demonstrates many other signs of lack of sustainability.

The bee issue is likely to hit us hard even faster than land and water degradation or the loss of agricultural biodiversity.

It is cleat that the evolution of agriculture towards a more diverse and environment-friendly agriculture (ecological agriculture) based on soil fertility management relying on

balanced crop rotations and not on the use of chemical fertiliser, and on a biological pest management rather than the use of pesticides, would constitute the solution that would help to save the bees and thus, to save ourselves.


To know more:

  1. -Watch the remarkable conference by Marla Spivak from the Université of Minnesota on TED


Last update:    October 2013

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