Decline Of Bees Podcast Script

by rsmit18 on November 2, 2016 - 8:55pm

Ryan Smith

                                                                Decline of Wild Bee Podcast

What is often viewed as a common annoyance is actually a gift in disguise. The Wild Bee population is declining. That should definitely alarm you because bees perform some vital tasks that benefit us humans. One third of our food sources depend on the bees to pollinate them. One third! For the size of the human race, that is a lot! Without the bee’s pollination, food production would be a giant mess. We would have to start hand pollinating each plant. Not only is hand-pollinating longer and more labor intensive then bee pollination, but it would also cause a financial burden for labor-costs. Farmers also dedicated to farming bees would be unemployed. Some developing countries rely on bee farming as an economic staple.

Another concern with this epidemic is that this is not just one country’s problem. This is a global epidemic. We need a group effort on all sides of the globe to help reduce the risk for bees. So, if the wild bee population is in decline, what is causing it? Though climate change is a factor, the most important cause is the mass use of bee killing pesticides. Farmers spray these harmful pesticides over their crops. Once a bee lands to pollinate that crop it becomes sick and will later die from the pesticides. It is a brutal way to deal with insects, but more importantly is that is completely avoidable. If we moved away from a chemical-intensive style of agriculture, to an eco-friendlier and organic style of agriculture, we could help reduce the risk for bees.

If bees were to go extinct we would in fact have crops that can grow without the pollination of the bee. However according to University of Guelph student Katherine O’hearn these crops would not be nutritionally fit for survival. O’hearn was contacted through email, so that we could have an expert’s thoughts on the matter. O’hearn stated that “While our staple crops like corn, soybeans, and rice do not rely on insect pollination (they instead rely on wind pollination), these would likely need to be fortified to replace some of the nutrients lost or made much more difficult to obtain due to the loss of the species...”

If some of the bees were to survive, but only at a low amount prices of certain items would rise. University of Guelph student Sarah Edmondson commented on the matter saying “Certain items would become more rare, and prices would surge. Foods such as apples, avocados, onions, and different types of berries heavily rely on pollinators.” As less bees pollinate crops the slimmer the selection food becomes. This doesn’t affect just plants and vegetables either. Cows need certain plants to eat. Without those plants the cost of meat would go up making it harder to obtain.

We need bees. Though sometimes they are scary annoying insects, they are always doing their job for us. So, to save our bee friends we need to move away from harsh industrial-styled agriculture, and more towards organic and ecological farming techniques. You can help by spreading the word and help generate a buzz!

Comments

Excellent blog post! I have always been fascinated with honey bees. I enjoyed that you discussed the many factors which will come from the decline of bees. As you have mentioned, it will not only be our economy which suffers, but our very existence, so I applaud you for bringing awareness to this issue. I agree that this problem does not affect just one country; it is indeed a global epidemic and is multi-scalar, which also makes this problem more difficult so solve.
I wanted to further mention the usage of pesticides and how they affect bees, as I am very glad that you brought it up. Vanishing bees and Colony Collapse disorder is a side effect of increased pesticide use. CCD is a phenomenon in which workers or adult bees from the European honey bee colony disappear completely from the hive. Mysteriously, when a colony is collapsing or has been collapsed no worker bees are found inside or out of the hive, none are even found dead, yet the queen always remains in the hive, along with all of the precious honey. Another quality of a Collapsed Colony is the fact that once abandoned no other bees or insects such as beetles will rob the abandoned hive of the honey. I think that issues like this are very important to explore and give us more encouragement to change our ways to more sustainable methods. Once again, I really enjoyed your blog and you a great job of showing that there is a direct correlation to human activity and the status of bees, even though they may be considered to be an annoyance, we need them.

Good morning, you pointed out some very important and interesting facts in this podcast script. There are so many important points that help people understand why bees are so important. Like you said, if we didn't have bees then we would have minimal food. I focus my academic career on the study of agriculture production and impacts on the environment. The topic of protecting bees is one of my favourite to discuss.
Firstly, I would like to clarify that not all pesticides impact bee reproduction or bee behaviour. There are multiple different types of pesticides that do not affect bee mechanisms (they do not harm them). I've attached a link to an article that describes different groups of pesticides that impact bee behaviour and stability. The article describes which pesticides are the worst and how they impact bees. The point of this is to explain that farmers don't have to start practicing 100% organic processes, but they really need to consider reducing their use of the most toxic and harmful chemicals. Like you pointed out in your article: bees are a farmer's best friend. Farmers need to take this bee decline more seriously and I think you did a great job at pointing out why they are so important to the entire world.
I myself am a farmer and we try to practice conventional organic farming. This is a type of farming that tries to incorporate practices from both sides of the spectrum. We consider this to be a type of sustainable farming. The goal of sustainable farming is to reduce negative impacts on the environment caused by the production of food sources.. Sustainable farming needs to become a movement, otherwise we will no longer have bees to help us on our journey.

Very great topic, very insightful post!

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022201111002540

I enjoyed reading your podcast post about the decline of bees! I'm impressed with your inclusion of data collected from multiple student experts on the subject. Your podcast expresses great concern for a great issue – the decline of wild bees. Without the wild bees that we rely on for pollinating many crops, there will be grave consequences to our food system, just as you’ve mentioned. Prices on certain crops will rise, and we will see a drop in both the quantity and quality of other foods. It’s the wild bees, not just the more-known honeybees, that we’re relying on – and that are at risk. An article by Krisy Gashler linked below discusses the importance of native and wild bees, which are often overlooked in favour of honeybees.

In summary, I support your podcast and would spread the word to help protect bee populations. As a student in landscape architecture, I have had many opportunities to talk about pollinators and their role in natural and anthropocentric ecosystems. Urban areas like parks and yards, for example, can be planted with species that attract these bees and provide safe habitat for them. “Bee hotels” are great features that many people are including in their gardens, since most wild bees do not live in the hives that honeybees do. There are several links below illustrating different habitats that a landowner could easily set up.

On a larger scale, individuals can advocate that restoration projects take ecology into account, right down to the insect-scale details. We live in an area with many quarries that need to be rehabilitated (and at least somewhat naturalized) when they retire from use. These sites are great opportunities to invite wild bees back into the landscape and provide pesticide-free plants for them to enjoy. A yearly student design competition for gravel pit rehabilitation often takes into account the role of pollinators in our landscape. That is to say, bees are a buzzing topic among students! Check out Beetopia, the 1st place project in the design competition (page 11) for more inspiration on saving the bees! http://www.ossga.com/multimedia/72/os15c_awardspullout-final.pdf

Resources

Gashler, K. (2011, October 24). Native bees are better pollinators, more plentiful than honeybees, finds entomologist. Cornell Chronicle. http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2011/10/native-bees-are-better-pollinato...

Bee Hotels:

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/bee_abode.html?credi...

https://www.opalexplorenature.org/sites/default/files/7/file/How-to-make...

https://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/bee_hotel.pdf - this UK source is still very relevant in our regions

http://wildforbees.ca/ even large companies are interested – this is from Burt’s Bees!

http://nationalgeographic.org/media/build-your-own-bee-hotel/ and here is National Geographic’s take.

Great podcast, bees are a very relevant topic here at the University of Guelph, since we are an agriculture school. I think you pointed out some great issues associate with the lose of bees, especially the economic ones! Many people don't care about environmental conservation, until they impact our wallets. By informing your audience about the negative economic impacts that the decline of bees carries with it, I think you can more effectively raise awareness for the decline in bee populations.

I also think that the focus of the importance of bees needs to be flipped into a conversation about the importance of pollinator species in our ecosystem. This past summer I worked on a project that investigated the affects of neonicotinoids on Monarch butterflies. Throughout the summer I learned a lot about Monarchs and their importance. However, the conversation continues to be on bees and not on pollinators in general. Monarch populations are also going down, as well as other pollinator species!

I really enjoyed your podcast with regards to the declining wild bee populations in North America and all over the world. I liked how you incorporated the effects of the wild bee population decline with agriculture, and animals that are reliant on the production of agriculture crops. To my knowledge most research is aimed at the adverse effects on honeybees from the pesticide known as neonictinoids. This pesticide is thought to be somewhat responsible for the declining population of honeybees all over the world. Europe has even put a partially ban on the use of neonictinoids from their crop production, and reverted to other types of pesticides to eliminate crop pests. I have attached a study that has performed at the University of Guelph in 2014, which puts emphasis on why neonicotinoids may not be the primary cause of honeybee declination. I believe the decline honeybee population deals with a great amount of uncertainty, and bans on certain types of pesticides may not be the best way to deal with populations declines.
Excellent podcast, thanks!

Cutler, G. C., Scott‐Dupree, C. D., & Drexler, D. M. (2014). Honey bees, neonicotinoids and bee incident reports: the Canadian situation. Pest management science, 70(5), 779-783.

http://journals1.scholarsportal.info.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/pdf/1526498...

Hi rsmit18,
You did an excellent job of drawing attention to an issue that is creating such a global affect. You point out that the declining bee population is not only happening in one region, which makes this issue all the more important. Not only is this an economic concern but also a problem affecting the livelihood of humans. You did a great job of emphasizing that one third of our world's food sources are dependent on bee pollination. That means it can't be good for our food production if the decline of bees is occurring. If farmers continue to use pesticides that directly affect the bee population, how much longer can we expect the species to survive before they go extinct? This issue is definitely not a positive topic, but you did a great job of bringing awareness to it. Somebody has to do it right?

The declining bee population has always been a topic I've been interested in digging deeper into. After reading your podcast and realizing that the use of pesticides is completely avoidable, it got me thinking, are there any incentive programs or certifications out there that might be effective towards having farmers harvest their crops more sustainably? I found a very interesting report on moving towards ecological farming. "Plan Bee" is a technique that Greenpeace is hoping farmers will integrate into their farming practices so that to move away from the use of pesticides. Looking into incentive programs such as this might be really interesting to add in future posts! It is definitely important to understand the causes behind an issue such as this, but it is always nice to learn that there could be something we could do about it in the future! The management of a resource such as the bees is more critical than most people would expect. Once again, I enjoyed your podcast!

References:
http://sos-bees.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/466-Plan-Bee-Report-LoRes...

Hi rsmit18,
You did an excellent job of drawing attention to an issue that is creating such a global affect. You point out that the declining bee population is not only happening in one region, which makes this issue all the more important. Not only is this an economic concern but also a problem affecting the livelihood of humans. You did a great job of emphasizing that one third of our world's food sources are dependent on bee pollination. That means it can't be good for our food production if the decline of bees is occurring. If farmers continue to use pesticides that directly affect the bee population, how much longer can we expect the species to survive before they go extinct? This issue is definitely not a positive topic, but you did a great job of bringing awareness to it. Somebody has to do it right?

The declining bee population has always been a topic I've been interested in digging deeper into. After reading your podcast and realizing that the use of pesticides is completely avoidable, it got me thinking, are there any incentive programs or certifications out there that might be effective towards having farmers harvest their crops more sustainably? I found a very interesting report on moving towards ecological farming. "Plan Bee" is a technique that Greenpeace is hoping farmers will integrate into their farming practices so that to move away from the use of pesticides. Looking into incentive programs such as this might be really interesting to add in future posts! It is definitely important to understand the causes behind an issue such as this, but it is always nice to learn that there could be something we could do about it in the future! The management of a resource such as the bees is more critical than most people would expect. Once again, I enjoyed your podcast!

References:
http://sos-bees.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/466-Plan-Bee-Report-LoRes...

Hello rsmit18,

I very much liked your article, especially the last bit "help generate a buzz". I spent the last summer doing field research on the wild bee populations in Ontario and was able to see this decline first-hand. Luckily, this problem has been increasingly gaining awareness. This has resulted in some positive changes already. For example, Ontario recently passed legislature to reduce the use of neonicotinoids in Ontario by 80 percent by 2017. A form of pesticides, neonicotinoids can be very detrimental for bees, causing memory loss and other problems.

You brought up a good point as well when mentioning that teaching the general population that bees are not annoyances or insects to be afraid of would be a good start. Many people think wasps and bees are the same, whereas one of the first things I learned in the field was that they are not. Wasps will sting and likely do so multiple times while bees only sting if they believe their colony is in danger. Changing this perception is another important step towards convincing the general population that bees are something that need saving.

I have attached a link you may find interesting. It explains the legislation that was put into effect to reduce the use of neonicotinoids in Ontario.

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/pollinator/meeting-reg.htm

Hello rsmit18,
I enjoyed your article because I have been reading a lot about this issue myself. It's a very scary topic when you learn the lasting impact it could make on everybody. The job a bee has is much more important than most people seem to believe. From what I've read I learned that out of the entire population of bee's, only a small portion are the honey bee's that are kept in hives to pollinate meaning that most that are unaffected are wild. These wild bee's will still be left to pollinate but it can still greatly affect the agriculture. I love how you added that we need to would need to find an Eco-friendlier and organic style of agriculture in order to reduce the risk because it is the current bee-killing pesticides that cause the most significant amount of harm.

Hello Ryan,
This is a very interesting podcast script that you have put together regarding the significant die-off of the global honey bee population. This certainly is a podcast that I'd be interested in listening to if it was expanded into a full-length podcast.
Indeed, the situation is very alarming. Neonics, the pesticides that are being blamed for the massive die off of bees, are threatening more than just bee populations. Humans rely on nutritious foods that grow as a result of insect pollination. A future featuring decreased or non-existent bee populations promises rarity and extremely high prices for many of the food products that we enjoy today, from tomatoes to coffee. Additionally, the impacts on wildlife would be significant, as many animals rely on nuts, berries and other fruits for survival.
If you were to expand on this podcast script, I would strongly recommend expanding from the anthropocentric view of the issue and consider the potential impacts on wildlife and vegetation. Additionally, as an avid podcast listener, I would be very interested in hearing some statistics. For example, specifying the percentage of reduction in global bee populations observed thus far would help to establish the severity of the issue. Providing future population estimates based on recent scientific projections may help to provide an idea of the consequences of inaction against neonics. Bringing in reputable scientific sources to address these points would strengthen the argument and inspire your listenership to build a vested interest in the subject.
Once you have driven home the point to your audience, provide them with resources to make a difference. Inform listeners of which food brands source their products from pesticide-free operations and explain how they can get into contact with their state senators (USA) and members of parliament (MP's) (Canada) to voice their concern and recommend that their legislative representatives support bans on neonics, which are currently on the political agendas in both countries.
Thanks for giving attention to this immensely important issue that, in my opinion, is second only to climate change as the largest threat to humanity.
Cheers!

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