Cause and Effect, How The Zika Virus Is Affecting The Honeybee

by Dennis Machicao

It was known for many years that a relatively unknown crisis, that affects certain crops and consequently our food supply, would be getting worse within future years. This crisis is related to the diminishing population of a small insect, the honeybee.

Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture started taking annual surveys of America’s beekeepers, it has documented that the honeybee population has been diminishing. Within the past number of years, about 30 percent of all honeybee colonies died off over winter months, as reported by the blog, the salt. Although there have been years that this percentage has been lower, there still has been an accumulative affect on the population.

Now the bees have a new enemy, one that is supposed to help humans. With the threat of the Zika virus, the almost indiscriminate spraying of insecticide to kill the spread of Zika carrying mosquitoes is also affecting the honeybee population. In the southeast part of the U.S., where the war against the Zika virus is in progress, the honeybee has become collateral damage.

According to the guardian, in South Carolina, 2.5 millions of dead bees have been found huddled around their hives on just one farm. The practice of aerial spraying mosquito insecticide is having a devastating effect on bees.

Honeybees, aside from producing honey, are important in pollinating crops like almonds, blueberries and apples. The farmers of these crops depend on commercial beekeepers to pollinate their crops. With this new dramatic diminishing of the honeybee population, there may not be enough bees to pollinate the farmers’ crops. The food chain will be seriously affected.

The effects of winter cold, drought, over development of land that eliminates the growth of wildflowers that bees feed on, parasites, general spraying of insecticides and now the tsunami style spraying, has given a very difficult task of survival for the honeybee.

Hopefully the Zika epidemic will soon be sustained to stop the spraying. Colder weather will help, but the re-population of the honeybee will take years. Lets hope they make it.

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