What kills bees?
A “sweet” death awaits a worker bee that has flown in to pollinate plants treated with pesticides. It is the pesticides that farmers spray their fields with that are considered the main cause of the mass pestilence. With the help of various drugs, farmers are trying to save the crop from pests, which are only becoming more resistant every year, so more and more aggressive substances have to be used to combat them. However, insecticides kill not only “undesirable” insects, but also everyone in a row – including bees. In this case, the fields are processed more than once a year. For example, rapeseed is sprayed with poison 4-6 times per season. Ideally, farmers should warn beekeepers about the upcoming cultivation of the land, but in practice this does not happen for various reasons. Firstly, farmers may not even know that there are apiaries nearby, neither they nor the beekeepers consider it necessary to agree. Secondly, the owners of the fields often care only about their own benefit, and either do not know about the impact of their activities on the environment, or do not want to think about it. Thirdly, there are pests that can destroy the entire crop in just a few days, so farmers do not have time to warn beekeepers about processing.
According to American scientists, in addition to pesticides, three more reasons are to blame for the death of bees around the world: global warming, Varroa mites spreading viruses, and the so-called colony collapse syndrome, when bee colonies suddenly leave the hive.
In Russia, fields have been sprayed with pesticides for a long time, and bees have been dying from this for many years. However, it was 2019 that became the year when the insect pest became so large-scale that not only regional, but also federal media started talking about it. The mass death of bees in the country is associated with the fact that the state began to allocate more funds for agriculture, new land plots began to be developed, and the legislation was not ready to control their activities.
Who is responsible?
In order for farmers to know that bee colonies live next to them, beekeepers need to register apiaries and inform farmers and local governments about themselves. There is no federal law that would protect beekeepers. However, there are rules for the use of chemicals, according to which administrative farms are obliged to warn beekeepers about the treatment with pesticides three days in advance: indicate the pesticide, the place of application (within a radius of 7 km), the time and method of treatment. Having received this information, the beekeepers must close the hives and take them to a distance of at least 7 km from the place where the poisons were sprayed. You can return the bees back no earlier than 12 days later. It is the uncontrolled use of pesticides that kills bees.
In 2011, the authority to control the production, storage, sale and use of pesticides and agrochemicals was practically withdrawn from Rosselkhoznadzor. As press secretary of the department Yulia Melano told reporters, this was done at the initiative of the Ministry of Economic Development, which should take responsibility for the death of bees, as well as the consumption by people of products with an excess content of pesticides, nitrates and nitrites. She also noted that now the supervision of pesticides and agrochemicals in fruit and vegetable products is carried out only by Rospotrebnadzor, and only when the goods are sold in stores. Thus, only a statement of fact occurs: whether the amount of poison in the finished product is exceeded or not. In addition, when unsafe consignments are detected, Rospotrebnadzor physically does not have time to remove low-quality goods from sale. Rosselkhoznadzor believes that it is necessary to give the Ministry of Agriculture the authority to control the production, storage, sale and use of pesticides and agrochemicals as soon as possible in order to change the current situation.
Now beekeepers and farmers must negotiate privately, solve their problems on their own. However, they often do not understand each other. The media is just beginning to cover this topic. It is necessary to inform both beekeepers and farmers about the relationship of their activities.
What are the consequences?
Poison ingestion. Declining honey quality is the first thing that comes to mind. The product, which is obtained by poisoned bees, will contain the same pesticides that were “treated” to pests in the fields. In addition, the amount of honey on the shelves will be reduced, and the cost of the product will increase. On the one hand, honey is not a vegan product, because living beings are exploited for its production. On the other hand, jars with the inscription “Honey” will still be delivered to stores, since there is a demand for it, only the composition will be doubtful and hardly safe for human health.
Yield decline. Indeed, if you do not poison the pests, they will destroy the plants. But at the same time, if there is no one to pollinate the plants, then they will not bear fruit. Farmers need the services of bees, so they should be interested in preserving their population so that they do not have to pollinate flowers with brushes, as they do in China, where chemistry was also used uncontrollably in the past.
Ecosystem disruption. During the treatment of fields with pesticides, not only bees die, but also other insects, small and medium-sized birds, as well as rodents. As a result, the ecological balance is disturbed, since everything in nature is interconnected. If you remove one link from the ecological chain, it will gradually collapse.
If poison can be found in honey, what about the treated plants themselves? About vegetables, fruits or the same rapeseed? Hazardous substances can enter our body when we do not expect it and cause various diseases. Therefore, it is time not only for beekeepers to sound the alarm, but also for all those who care about their health! Or do you want juicy apples with pesticides?