When it comes to pollination or the natural process of transfer of pollen grains that are responsible for production of new trees and plants there is no other greater agent than honeybees. Across the world Honeybees are responsible for pollinating crops that make more than half of our diet. Had it not been honeybees, creation of new plants would have been difficult. But in the last few years honeybees globally have been threatened due to various reasons including disease.
A shocking new study of University of Exeter, United Kingdom says the spread of a devastating virus that is endangering global bee populations is manmade and it is our trade and transportation of bees for pollination that is making it ‘pandemic’.
Researchers have found that a particular species of honeybees native to Europe is a transmitter of Deformed Wings Virus (DWV) disease. The deadly infection, mostly carried by a type of parasitic mite, threatens the existence of honeybees globally. The virus has originated in Europe and has subsequently migrated to the Americas and Australasia. The infected bees also continue to appear in other continents.
The stated report of University of Exeter calls for immediate action to halt the spread of the virus. It also urges beekeepers to take necessary steps to control the infection.
Apart from disease, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and in some cases radiations have been responsible for drastic reduction in honeybee population.
Honeybees add to biodiversity through pollination. Plant biodiversity contributes to positive outcomes such as soil and water retention, local area cooling and carbon sinks. So bees provide a key ecosystem service and are a rarest category of species that provide significant benefits to the environment. Without bees, every part of the world’s ecosystem would suffer and hence it is essential and must for every individual to protect this ‘friend of humans’.
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