Are Bees Affected by Climate Change?
The honeybee is one of the world’s most important pollinators and along with other bees and insects is responsible for pollinating most of the crops that feed humans. Unfortunately, bees are under threat. There are many reasons for this, but it is our job to do whatever we can to protect them.
For the individual, this might mean shopping local and buying organic produce that has not been sprayed with harmful pesticides. It might also mean switching to raw honey bought from local beekeepers but keeping consumption of it for special occasions. Or what about bee adoption? Companies such as Project Honey Bees sell beautiful bee jewelry and each item sold comes with a bee adoption that funds vital work into the conservation of these important pollinators.
Is Climate Change Affecting Bees?
Although no single person can reverse climate change, together we can all make a difference. Human behavior has had a massive impact on the climate, and across the world we see more extreme weather patterns, such as droughts, heatwaves, wildfires, torrential rain, and flooding. Every single one of these changing weather patterns has a negative effect on wildlife, and the bee is no exception.
Take rain, for instance. When summers become wetter due to increased rainfall, it affects the bees’ ability to forage. Small bees such as the honeybee find it difficult to fly when it is raining. This means they spend periods of time either stuck in the hive or hiding under plants until the rain subsides. This reduces the amount of time they can forage for nectar and pollen, which then affects their ability to make the honey they need to survive.
Furthermore, heavy rain can destroy flowers and plants, so even when the rain stops there is no food for the bees. This leaves the entire colony with less food and increases the risk of it dying over the winter months.
Even light but prolonged rain has a negative impact for bees. Despite the fact that they may be able to fly in this weather, light rain can accumulate on the wings, which then weighs the bee down and makes flying a struggle.
Another issue that causes massive problems for bees is the increased risk of wildfires that is becoming much more common in certain parts of the world. When heatwaves coupled with drought cause the land to become extremely dry, the risk of it igniting is much higher. Wildfires can start naturally or they can be the result of human carelessness. Once the begin though, they can spread rapidly and quickly get out of control. This can destroy huge areas of land, which then results in the loss of bee habitat.
What Can We Do about Climate Change?
Everyone can do their bit to deal with climate change. By making small changes to our habits, we can collectively make a difference. Reducing carbon footprint is one of the best ways to help tackle the climate crisis. This means reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. We can do this in a number of ways. For example, if everyone were to lower their thermostat by a few degrees or reduce the number of journeys they make in vehicles powered by gas or diesel, it would make an enormous difference.
Bee species around the world are in danger of decline for many reasons, and climate change is just one. However, every person can help to save bees by making small, yet powerful changes. Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and being more conservative about how we use energy in the home will help to save our most important pollinators.
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