The Importance of Bees


Published on

A presentation detailing the economic and social importance of bees, including possible reasons for their population decline.

Published in: Technology, Business
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Einstein never said it, first written down around 40 years after he died.Likely his name was attached to give it gravitas, make people take notice.
  • 90 crops worldwide80% of US crop dependent on honey bees
  • Important to meat and dairy industry as they need crop to feed their animalsNot just the food industry, cotton, flax and bees wax
  • First identified in 2006
  • Varroa has gained resistance to the pesticide strips (Bayvarol, Apistan) used to control the mite. The current alternative treatments are less effective and often provide a lower level of control
  • "We're asking our bees to live on monocultural pollens month after month."That would be like asking a person to live on nothing but steak for one month, Twinkies for the next, lettuce for the next month, and tomatoes for the next, he said. "Bees evolved on diversity, but they're not getting the diversity in today's commercial agriculture."
  • Happened before? Natural fluctuations? More important now because of the role they play in agriculture
  • s. One experiment, conducted by French researchers, indicates that the chemicals fog honeybee brains, making it harder for them to find their way home. The other study, by scientists in Britain, suggests that they keep bumblebees from supplying their hives with enough food to produce new queens.2012
  • While the scientists only tested the pesticide’s impact on bees, they noted that other factors—from poor nutrition due to a dearth of wildflowers to bad weather—could result in accumulated stress on individual bees that push a colony to collapse.  “This can explain why finding the link between colony failures and a single specific stress factor has so far proved elusive,” they wrote.
  • Einstein never said it, first written down around 40 years after he died.Likely his name was attached to give it gravitas, make people take notice.
  • The Importance of Bees

    1. 1. "If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.“ Albert Einstein
    2. 2. The Facts “Every third bite of food you take, thank a bee or other pollinator.” E.O. Wilson 1996 o In the UK around 70 crops are dependent on, or benefit from bees. o Huge Economic Value o If the UK were to replace the work of bees with people it would take over 30 million workers. BBC, 2009a; BBC, 2009b; NRDC, 2011
    3. 3. The Facts o In the winter of 2008/2009 one fifth of honey bee hives were lost o In the USA one third of honeybee hives were lost in two years o 25 Native Species in the UK Vanishing Bees, 2013
    4. 4. Crops Pollinated by Bees o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o Alfalfa Allspice Almonds Apples Artichoke Asparagus Avocado Blackberries Blueberries Broccoli Brussel sprouts Cabbage Cacao Cantaloupe Caraway Cardamom Carrots Cashew Cauliflower Celeriac o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o Celery Cherries Chicory Chives Cinnamon Citrus Coriander Cotton Cranberries Cucumbers Currants Dill Flax Fennel Garlic Gooseberries Kale Kiwi Leek Macadamia o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o Mango Mustard Nutmeg Onion Parsley Parsnip Passion fruit Peaches Pears Plum Pumpkin Radish Raspberries Squash Sunflower Tangerine Tea Watermelon NRDC, 2011; Vanishing Bees, 2013
    5. 5. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) o Majority of worker bees leave the hive o Abandoning the Queen o Inadequate number of worker bees left to do the job o Queen and workers starve and die vanEngelsdorp, 2006
    6. 6. Why? o Disposable Cups o Parasites o Poor Nutrition o Loss of Habitat o Genetically Modified Crops o Pesticides o Stress
    7. 7. Or… Returning to their home planet Melissa Majoria in sense of the coming doom… Doctor Who, 2008
    8. 8. Disposable Cups o Bees are lured by the sugar left in disposable cups o 25,211 dead bees in 30 days o 680 bees per day are manually killed at recycling centres o 1.3billion – 800million cups of tea and coffee consumed daily using disposable cups Chandrasekaran et al. (2011)
    9. 9. Parasites o Bumblebees imported from Europe carry pathogens o Varroa mite BBC, 2013c; BBC, 2010; Martin, et al. 2012; Science Daily, 2012
    10. 10. Poor Nutrition o Honey bees require: o Carbohydrates (sugars in nectar or honey) o Amino acids (protein from pollen) o Lipids (fatty acids) o Vitamins and minerals o Water o All these nutrients can be obtained by bees in a natural setting Huang, 2010
    11. 11. Loss of Habitat “The decline in wild habitat and forage is the most significant long-term threat to honey bee populations in Europe and the US” Professor Ratniek, UK’s only Professor of Apiculture (2010) o Healthy bees need abundant food supplies Ecologist, 2010
    12. 12. Genetically Modified Crops o GM Crops resistant to pest and herbicides Global Research, 2011
    13. 13. Genetically Modified Crops o James and Pitts-Singer (2008) o Bt protein is of no harm to bees o Herbicide resistant crops pose no direct toxicity effects to bees o Professor H. Kaatz (2009) o Found that bee colonies fed pollen with the Bt protein collapsed after 3 weeks o “Since they are something no one wants to hear it is difficult to find an adequate place for them” GM Watch, 2009
    14. 14. Pesticides o Neonicotinoid pesticides; o Imidacloprid o Clothianidin o Thiamethoxam o Targets the bees central nervous system
    15. 15. Pesticides o Researchers treated 16 hives with different levels of Imidacloprid o Exposure to the pesticides lowers brain activity BBC, 2013d; BBC, 2013e; Genersche, 2010; Monbiot, 2013; Mongabay, 2012
    16. 16. Stress o The colony depends on the efficient cooperation of the individual worker bees for essential tasks o If too many bees get sick, it increases the work load on the other bees Discovery Communications, 2013; Royal Holloway University of London, 2013; Woody, 2013;
    17. 17. Stress o Bees begin life as a larvae o They mature into ‘hive’ bees, for 21 days they; o Maintaining the temperature of the hive, building, cleaning and ventilating o They mature into ‘forager’ bees and collect nectar and pollen o After 21 days they die, and hive bees replace them Discovery Communications, 2013; Royal Holloway University of London, 2013; Woody, 2013;
    18. 18. Stress o Dead bees are quickly replaced, however impaired bees carry on attempting to work just at a far slow rate, hindering the colony o A tipping point is reached when more bees die (of natural causes) than are being born Discovery Communications, 2013; Royal Holloway University of London, 2013; Woody, 2013;
    19. 19. Stress o“Exposing bees to pesticides is a bit like adding more Pesticides such as neonicotinoids have been and more be oneon someone’s shoulders. A person found to weight of the major contributing factor can stress walking normally under a bit of weight, but to keep in bees when it gets too much – they collapse.” o Other factors John Bryden, Royal Holloway (2013) Dr such as; o Poor nutrition/Habitat loss o Parasites Discovery Communications, 2013; Royal Holloway University of London, 2013; Woody, 2013;
    20. 20. Why Should We Care? o Significant drops in the level of pollination o Reduced availability of certain fruits and vegetables o Increased food prices o Harder to get a healthy balanced diet Bumblebee Conservation Trust, 2013; Natural Resource Defence Council, 2011
    21. 21. Why Should We Care? o Non-Consumable products of bees o Wax o Cosmetic companies o Candle makers o Pharmaceutical companies o Dentists o Chewing gum companies University of Illinois, 2007
    22. 22. "If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.“ Albert Einstein
    23. 23. Bibliography BBC (2013a) Banned Pesticides May Be Having Wider Environmental Impacts. Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2013). BBC (2013b) Bee Colony Failure ‘From Pesticide Stress’. Available at: (Accessed: 20 October 2013). BBC (2013c) Imported Bumblebees pose ‘Parasite Threat’ to Native Bees. Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2013). BBC (2013d) Government Rejects the Science Behind Neonicotinoid Ban. Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2013). BBC (2013e) Neonicotinoid Pesticides ‘Damages Brains of Bees. Available at: (Accessed: 16 October 2013). BBC (2009a) The Economic Value of Honeybees. Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2013). BBC (2010) The Honey Bee and the Varroa Mite. Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2013) BBC (2009b) Why Have Bees Been Buzzing Off?. Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2013) Biesmeijer, J. C., Roberts, S. P. M., Reember, M., Ohlemuller, R., Edwards, M., Peeters, T., Schaffers, A. P., Potts, S. G., Kleukers, R., Thomas, C. D., Settele, J. and Kunin, W. E. (2006) ‘Parallel Declines in Pollinators and Insect-Pollinated Plants in Britain and the Netherlands’, Science, 313(5785), pp. 351 – 354. [Online]. DOI: 10.1126/science.1127863. Brad Plumer (2013) ‘Why are the bees dying? The U.S. and Europe have different theories’, Wonkblog, 3 May. Available at: (Accessed: 12 October 2013). Bumblebee Conservation Trust (2013) Why Bees Need Our Help. Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2013). Capinera, J. K. (2010) Insects and Wildlife: Arthropods and their Relationships with Wild Invertebrate Animals. Chichester: WileyBlackwell.
    24. 24. Bibliography Chandrasekaran, S., Nagendran, N. A., Krishnankutty, N., Pandiaraja, D., Saravanan, S., Kamaladhasan, N. and Kamalakanna, B. (2011) ‘Disposed Paper Cups and Declining Bees’, Current Science, 101(10), pp. 1262. Ecologist (2010) Loss of Forage Biggest Long-Term Threat to Bees. Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2013). Doctor Who (2008) BBC One Television, 28 June. Escapist Magazine (2013) Bees Are Dying, Scientists Have Found Out Why. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2013). Farmers Daily (2009) Habitat Loss and Disease are Bees’ bane, not Pesticides. Available at: (Accessed: 19 October 2013). Garth Sullivan (2007) ‘Are the Bees the Next Mass-Extinction Species?’, The Daily Galaxy, 17 October. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2013). Genersche, E. (2010) ‘Honey Bee Pathology: current Threats to Honey Bees and Beekeeping’, Applied Microbiology Biotechnology, 87(1), pp. 87 – 97. [Online]. DOI: 10.1007/s00253-010-2573-8 (Accessed: 22 October 2013). Monbiot, G. (2013) ‘Neonictinoids are the New DDT Killing the Natural World’, GeorgeMonbiot’s Blog, 5 August. Available at: (Accessed: 16 October 2013). Global Research (2011) Death of the Bees: Genetically Modified Crops and the Decline of Bee Colonies in North America . Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2013). GM Watch (2009) Interview by Christof Potthof with the bee researcher Prof. Dr. Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, University of Halle-Wittenberg. Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2013) Huang, Z. Y. (2010) ‘Honey Bee Nutrition’, American Bee Journal, 150, pp. 773 – 776. James, R. and Pitts-Singer, T. L. (eds.) (2008) Bee Pollination in Agricultural Ecosystems. USA: Oxford University Press.
    25. 25. Bibliography Lemelin, R. H. (ed) (2013) The Management of Insects in Recreation and Tourism. USA: Cambridge University Press. Martin, S. J., Highfield, A. C., Brettel, L., Villalobos, E. M., Budge, G. E., Powell, M., Nikaido, S. and Schroeder, D. C. (2012) ‘Global Honey Bee Viral Landscape Altered by a Parasitic Mite’, Science, 336(6086), pp. 1304 – 1306. Mongabay (2012) Researchers Recreate Bee Collapse with Pesticide-Laced Corn Syrup. Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2013). National Resources Defense Council (2011) Why We Need Bees: Nature’s Tiny Workers Put Food on Our Tables. Available at: (Accessed: 16 October 2013). Pegg, J. R. (2013) ‘Beekeepers Struggling to Find Answers for Declining Bee Health’, Pesticide and Chemical Policy Week in Review, 41(11), pp. 1, 15. Potts, S. G., Biesmeijer, J. C., Kremen, C., Neumann, O. S. and Kunin, W. E. (2010) ‘Global Pollinator Declines: Trends, Impacts and Drivers’, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 25, pp. 345 – 353. [Online]. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2010.01.007 (Accessed 18 October 2013). Ratnieks, F. L. W. and Carreck, N. L. (2010) ‘Clarity on Honey Bee Collapse’, Science, 327(5962), pp. 152 – 153. Royal Holloway, University of London (2013) Stress a Key Factor in Causing Bee Colonies to Fail [Press Release]. 7 October. Available at: (Accessed: 20 October 2013). Royal Horticultural Society (2013) Bees: Decline in Numbers. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2013). Schiffman R. (2012) ‘Mystery of the Disappearing Bees: Solved!’, The Great Debate, 9 April. Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2013). Schowalter, T. D. (2013) Insects and Sustainability of Ecosystem services. Boca Raton, FL.: Taylor & Francis Group. Science Daily (2013) Parasites Change Bees Brains, but Not Their Behaviour. Available at: (Accessed: 19 October 2013). Steffan-Dewenter, I., Potts, S.G. and Packer, L. (2005) ‘Pollinator Diversity and Crop Pollination Services are at Risk’, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 20, pp. 651 – 652. [Online]. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2005.09.004 (Accessed: 22 October 2013).
    26. 26. Bibliography Stokstad, E. (2006) ‘Pollinator Diversity Declining in Europe’, Science, 313(5785), pp. 286. [Online]. DOI: 10.1126/science.313.5785.286a. Sustain (2013) Why Are Bees Important? Available at: (Accessed: 12 October 2013). Tapparo, A., Marton, D., Zanella, A., Solda. L., Marzaro, M., Vivan, L. and Girolami, V. (2012) ‘Assessment of the Environmental Exposure of Honeybees to Particulate Matter Containing Neonicotinoid Insectides Coming From Corn Coated Seeds’, Environmental Science Technology, 46(5), pp. 2592 – 2599. The British Beekeepers Association (2013) Importance of Bees. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2013). The Co-operative (2013) The Vanishing Bees. Available at: (Accessed: 20 October 2013). The Daily Green (2011) Major Paper Repeats Bogus Einstein Bee Quote. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2013). The New York Times (2012) Two Studies Point to Common Pesticide as a Culprit in Declining Bee Colonies . Available at: (Accessed: 19 October 2012). The Telegraph ( 2011) Einstein was Right- Honey Bee Collapse Threatens Global Food Security. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2013). The Weather Network (2013) Scientist Uncover Why Millions of Bees are Dying. Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2013). University of Illinois (2007) Bee Products. Available at: (Accessed: 25 October 2013). Whitehorn, P. R., O’Connor, S., Wackers, F. L. and Goulson, D. (2012) ‘Neonicotinoid Pesticide Reduces Bumble Bee Colony Growth and Queen Production’, Science, 336(6079), pp. 351 – 352.
    27. 27. Background Image • Autan (2013) European Honey Bee Touching Down. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2013).