Bees Are Dying And That Could Be Devastating For Food Security

Pesticides are killing off the world’s bee and butterfly populations, endangering the survival of global agriculture, according to a new study released on Friday.

About 16 percent of the world’s vertebrate pollinators “are being driven toward extinction by diverse pressures, many of them human-made, threatening millions of livelihoods and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of food supplies,” the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services said.

The number of invertebrate pollinators going extinct is upwards of 40 percent in some areas. And pollinated crops are the providers of the world’s fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and oils.

Although bees and butterflies are at the highest risk of extinction, other animals like moths, wasps, beetles, birds and bats are also important contributors to pollination. The declines are concentrated in northwestern Europe and North America, according to the study, which is the first of its kind to assess the pollinator decline on a global scale.

Without these pollinators, “many of us would no longer be able to enjoy coffee, chocolate and apples, among many other foods that are part of our daily lives,” said Simon Potts, Ph.D., one of the study’s authors and a biodiversity professor at the University of Reading.

Everything falls apart if you take pollinators out of the game,” University of Maryland bee expert Dennis van Engelsdorp told the Associated Press. “If we want to say we can feed the world in 2050, pollinators are going to be part of that.”

IPBES also points to the health and economic risks associated with the impact of a declining pollinator population on people in underdeveloped countries.

Without the important sources of vitamins and minerals from pollinated crops, “the risks of malnutrition might be expected to increase,” the study said.

“Several crops also represent an important source of income in developing —> Read More