Thousands of Dead Bees Are Washing Up on a Florida Beach
Bees are in trouble these days. Sadly, they keep finding new and disturbing ways to die en masse. The latest oddity comes from the sunny beaches of Florida.
At Lowdermilk Park Beach in Naples, Fla., beachgoers recently began complaining of being stung on their feet as they walked the beach. It quickly became clear that thousands of bees were washing up on shore, either dead or dying.
At first, beach visitors didn’t realize the bees where even there. It took a few stings on the feet to make them realize something unusual was going on.
“It’s just really between the water and the sand. I’ve been stung a couple of times, and at first, I didn’t know what it was, and then I realized, and then I had an allergic reaction,” beachgoer Martha Duff told NBC2.
Watch a news report about the bees here:
No one knows why there are suddenly thousands of bees rolling up onto the sand from the ocean. It’s not a common occurrence, though it has happened before. Some believe pesticide spray might have forced them out over the water. Another theory surmises that the bees found themselves over water when they became too tired to keep flying, and just went into the sea.
However it happened, it couldn’t have come at a worse time for bees.
We Need Bees Because We Need Food
Bees pollinate many of the crops we use for food. If they’re suddenly unable to do that, crops like coffee beans, limes, apples, blueberries, cranberries, cashews, beets, onions, broccoli, cabbage, kiwi, brussels sprouts, chestnuts, watermelons, cucumber, fennel, strawberries, macadamia, mangoes, apricots, almonds and more could disappear from our plates.
We’d still have a fair amount of other food and crops (wind pollinated crops, for example) if honey bees completely died off, but many crops depend on other kinds of bees to propagate. We need all bees. There’s simply no good reason not to take every action possible to stave off the mass deaths of our little pollinator friends.
Bees Are in Peril; We Must Act Now to Save Them
These days, bees need all the help they can get. They face threats on many fronts:
- Colony Collapse Disorder – Beginning in 2006, beekeepers began noticing their bee colonies were dying off suddenly. The phenomenon became known as “colony collapse disorder.” It continues to this day, but we’re not sure why. At least a third of all bee colonies in the U.S. have succumbed.
- Endangered Status for Rusty Patched Bumble Bee — One endangered bee was hit hard by President Trump’s decision to postpone implementation of new regulations for 60 days. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was set to add the rusty patched bumble bee to the Endangered Species Act. At a minimum, that listing won’t happen for two more months. At worst, it might be permanently shot down by the administration.
- Habitat loss, Degradation, Fragmentation -- The effects of agriculture, loss of resources and urban and suburban development leave bees with less habitat than they need.
- Non-Native Species and Diseases — Non-native species can degrade pollinator habitat.
- Pollution — Air pollution, pesticides and even light pollution cause pollinators significant problems.
- Climate Change — Changes in temperature can drive certain pollinators to different areas.
When bees die en masse, it’s something to worry about. When regulations intended to save endangered bees are delayed, it’s something else to worry about. Bees face so many threats today that humans can actually do something about. The question is — will we?
There are things you can do that even Donald Trump can’t stop. Plant a pollinator friendly garden around your home to attract bees. Consider learning to become an amateur beekeeper. Build or buy bee hotels to place around your yard to give non-hive dwelling pollinators a place to live. Why not try a few of these things and see how you can help?
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