Aug 18, 2019 | Updated: 07:24 AM EDT

Honey Bees Endangered By Human Behavior

Apr 08, 2017 04:53 AM EDT

Honey Bees Play A Significant Role In Pollination And Food Production But Their Colonies Are Being Threatened By Humans
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Humans need to change their behaviors and activities if they want colonies of honey bees to continue to survive.

Human behavior caused the disorder and collapse of the colonies of honey bees. This was the contention of Robert Owen, author of "The Australian Beekeeping Handbook" and of an essay that will see print this week in the "Journal of Economic Entomology". Owen blamed the spread of pathogens that afflicted the honey bees in Europe to human activities. He said humans should make changes in their behaviors if they want to solve the many problems faced by the bees.

Owen cited the not so stringent regulation in the large-scale movement of bees for commercial purposes as one of the reasons for the destruction of colonies of honey bees. In the United States alone, there are 2.66 million bee colonies and 1.8 million of these colonies were transported to California for the pollination of almond crops. He also stressed the lack of proper integrated pest management in most bee farms. Global trade has also paved the way for the spread of pathogens in worldwide bee colonies.

Unknown to them, hobbyist beekeepers also contribute to the spread of diseases that destroy colonies of honey bees because of their lack of skills in managing colonies according to Science Daily. Some changes in human behavior and in some government policies can, however, help improve the health of the bee colonies. To start with, there should be strict regulations when it comes to the transport of bees. Hobbyists and commercial beekeepers should adhere to appropriate pest management practices.

"The problems facing honeybees today are complex and will not be easy to mitigate," Owen said. "The role of inappropriate human action in the spread of pathogens and the resulting high numbers of colony losses needs to be brought to the fore of management and policy decisions if we are to reduce colony losses to acceptable levels."

Honey bees are considered major pollinators and they play a major role in plant reproduction, according to Genetic Literacy Project. Humans benefit from honeybees in many ways and have every reason to make sure that the bee colonies continue to exist. Those who maintain bee colonies either as hobbyists or businesses should exert every effort to undergo training and education in sustainable beekeeping practices.

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