Have you heard this quote? “If bees disappear from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” This is what world-renowned physicist Albert Einstein said. After hearing this, you may ask, “If bees disappear, why will mankind be threatened?” So, ST looked at the phenomenon of the bee colony collapse, which has constantly become a hot topic in the field of environment protection...............................................................................................................Ed
Have you ever heard of the ‘honeybee disappearance’? In April 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs reported that as many as 7.8 billion honeybees died during the winter. Moreover, in early January 2023, 90% of honeybees, raised at a bee farm in Buan-gun, Jeollabuk-do, disappeared. Why does this strange phenomenon happen? How do we solve this?
- What is CCD?
This phenomenon was first reported in the United States in 2006 as CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder). CCD is a phenomenon in which a group of worker bees that go out to collect honey and pollen do not return, causing the queen bee and caterpillars left in the hive to die in droves. In other words, a colony of bees in an area collapsed.
- Why is CCD a Problem?
First, the most fundamental problem is that honey can no longer be cultivated. The honey we consume is produced by the beekeeping industry, which grows and produces honeybees directly. If bees disappear, it means that there is no way to replace its production. Second, jobs are reduced. The disappearance of honeybees is tantamount to a direct blow to the beekeeping industry’s profits. The following annual honey production statistics show that honey production is jagged. Third, food supply becomes difficult. This is the biggest problem in the disappearance of honeybees. One-third of the crops are produced by insect pollination, and 80% of them are said to belong to honeybees. According to a joint study by major universities around the world in 2023, the number of flowering insects such as honeybees decreased, resulting in a decrease of about 3% in global fruit and vegetable production. As a result, 400,000 people die from malnutrition every year.
- So, what is the Cause?
No clear causes have been identified, including the emergence of pesticides, parasites, and ecological disturbances, but experts in Korea speculate that abnormal weather is the biggest cause. According to the Rural Development Administration, the growth of honeybees was greatly hindered. due to low temperatures from September to January 2021, and flowers bloomed early at high temperatures from November to December, weakening their colony. Honeybees go outside to do outdoor activities when the temperature rises, but if the temperature drops sharply after that, they cannot return and then die.
To prevent the CCD phenomenon, the European Union banned the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, an ingredient that disturbs the nerves of honeybees, and Chungcheongnam-do in Korea created a ‘feed forest’ with eight million trees that can feed honeybees. Furthermore, continuous research on the apparent causes of honeybee disappearance is needed.
Kim-Tae eun (Planning Editor)