Something’s happening to the bees and Biology Professor Dominic Lannutti said there are no easy answers.
Bee pollinating flower in Nuremburg, Germany.
As the 47th anniversary of Earth Day approaches on Saturday, April 22, more and more people are becoming informed about bees.
Honeybees in particular are thought to be threatened by harsh pesticides.
“The honeybees seem to be in decline worldwide. The latest hypothesis is pesticides and fertilizer run off, chemical run off from agriculture and city type pesticides. It seems to be the most likely,” Lannutti said.
He continued to explain that three pesticides: imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam were banned in 2013 by the European Food Safety Agency for their severe effects on bee populations.
These pesticidies are still allowed in the United States.
Lannutti said that, “Within five years, the bees started to recover and their populations are rebounding rapidly. So, there’s some evidence to support that pesticides definitely have an effect.”
According to lifebasicsorganics.com, “These amazing insects pollinate over 80 percent of all flowering plants including 70 of the top 100 human food crops.One in three bites of food that we eat is derived from plants pollinated by bees.”
Bees are vital to the pollination of floral landscapes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and the upkeep of animal habitats.
“They’re responsible for a good percentage of the actual food that we eat, fruits and vegetables. Ecologically they have a major niche in the environment,” Lannutti said.
"Without them, it would be a very different world for the human species. It sounds like we would have a harder time acquiring food to feed 7 billion people.”
In order to save bees, Lannutti believes that people can boycott chemical companies and resist the usage of harmful pesticides which are both detrimental for citizens, insects and animals.
“Unfortunately, our current political administration has just defunded the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). We vote with our dollar so, definitely stay away from the big chemical companies and reach out to your congressman and let them know that this is not acceptable behavior,” Lannutti said.
In celebration of Earth Day, El Paso Community College is hosting four events in which students can donate tires, exchange clothing and used electronics.
The next event will be on April 19 at the Valle Verde campus from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For those who donate, they are automatically entered in a raffle with prizes such as Neon Desert tickets, gift cards and haircuts.