Published on February 17th, 2014 | by Becky Striepe2
Colony Collapse Disorder: It’s a biodiversity thing.
Bee expert Dave Hunter did an open Q&A on colony collapse disorder and shared some eye-opening insights.
Are you guys familiar with Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything?” It’s basically a space where celebrities and experts can have an open conversation with community members about who they are and what they do. Ask Me Anythings run the gamut from actors, comedians, and writers to scientists and other folks who are experts in their fields. A recent Ask Me Anything (AMA) featured bee expert Dave Hunter talking about how to fight colony collapse disorder and save our bee population.
Bees and Colony Collapse Disorder
Bees and other pollinators are critical to our world’s food supply. A huge portion of the foods we eat every day would not exist without these tiny animals going about their business.
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) threatens our bee populations and therefore our food supply. What’s causing CCD has been the subject of debate for a long time. Factors like feeding bees highf fructose corn syrup in industrial honey operations may be partly to blame. A major factor that’s definitely causing CCD is the use of certain pesticides in farming and gardening.
Colony Collapse Disorder & Biodiversity
While CCD doesn’t only impact honey bees, they do seem to be getting hit harder than some wild bee populations. The problem does extend to some wild bees, but at Hunter points out in his AMA that biodiversity is the key to protecting our food supply.
Hunter points out that relying just on honey bees to pollinate our food is crazy. Just as planting the same variety of corn over and over is a recipe for a food security disaster, we need to diversify the pollinators on our farms and in our gardens.
He advocates keeping wild bees if you can or at least planning your back yard or garden to attract local wild bees. I really liked the Rule of ONE that he shared:
1. plant one native plant in your yard. 2. get rid of one chemical 3. plant one food (tomato, apple, etc.) 4. Let one pest survive. predators (lady bugs) have to have pests to eat. no pests, no predators. 5. Learn to raise gentle bees.
Hunter is the owner of a company called Crown Bees. They provide resources for folks wanting to keep mason bees. They sell bees and beekeeping supplies, and they’re dedicated to helping their customers raise healthy bees and shore up the number of local pollinators in their areas.
What made Crown Bees stand out for me is that they’re out to do more than make money. Part of their mission statement is to circle back with customers three to five years down the road and encourage them to donate their extra bees to help pollinate local orchards.
Hunter shared so much great information on mason bees, beekeeping, colony collapse disorder, and the future of our food supply in his AMA! I encourage you to head over to Reddit and check out the whole thing.
Image Credit: Bee graphic via Shutterstock