Tyler R. Oklahoma

Do you want to eat?

Bee populations are declining, but we need them as they play a vital role in our lives.

Dear Next President,

The decline of bees is a problem in the United States that has somehow managed to fly under the radar for most people. I didn't discover there was a decline in bees until recent years. Even though I didn't actually know there was a decline in bees when I started to think about it, I don't see as many bees during the spring and summer months as I would've seen when i was much younger. The decline of bees is almost all the result of man-made things, such as destruction of the bees' habitat, changes in farming in recent years, and the types of pesticides sprayed on crops. 

The article "Helping the bee and it's habitat" claims that habitat loss is a major reason for the decline of bees. Much of the bees' habitat in the US has been transformed into roads, buildings and industrial parks. This process, urbanization, not only removes the bees from their home but it also makes it more difficult for them in the sense that they have to go further to  find food and pollinate. It also becomes more difficult for them to have multiple nesting spots. They would have have to work much harder to get all the food they need in a small, limited space. 

According to the article"Want to eat? Then save pollinators from extinction", the way farming has changed is to blame for the decline in bees also. The article calls this one of the larger problems. Large farms are devoted to one crop and one crop only. Wildflowers are disappearing as well. Many of the wildflowers are being replaced with farms only growing one crop, which is bad for bees because their diets won't be as good as they would be with wildflowers. Farmers are encouraged to grow more wildflowers to help bees. In England farmers are paid to plant wildflowers on their farms. 

In the article "Millions of dead bees are a side effect of spray meant to control the Zika spread" the blame is put onto pesticides. South Carolina beekeepers found millions of bees that had died near their colonies. The bees were reported to be killed by some form of pesticide. It was estimated that there were 2.5 million bees killed. The article says, "bees and other pollinators contribute an estimated $29 billion to farm income ". South Carolina has strict rules toward bees and other pollinators, but even with these rules they were allowed to use the neurotoxin, Naled.  The reason the spray was permitted is because there was said to be a "clear and public health crisis". After the spraying of the neurotoxin and the death of the bees, beekeepers have been worried about what could happen in the future to bees.

We need bees.  They play a vital role in our lives, but, you might ask, what can be done?  Regarding the loss of habitat, the government could take into consideration the wildlife that lives in the area and how it would affect it before they permit structures and roads to be put into place. I understand that the government doesn't control the way farming has changed but they could encourage farmers to plant more wildflowers through paying them to do so, like England does. Finally, what about the pesticides?  This problem could possibly be solved by banning certain pesticides that could negatively affect the environment, or even make new pesticides that are safer and won't cause as many casualties as current pesticides do. Without bees we could be left to starve. Even the economy would take a toll due to the lack of plants farmers could sell. The future of bees is in our hands; if we don't do something to save them, we might all suffer.

East Central High School - Tulsa

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