The COVID-19 virus has created some rather unique challenges for beekeepers throughout this crisis all over the globe. The first challenge we saw was in China, a significant supplier of honey. Because the lockdown was put in place so early, many beekeepers never had the chance to properly prepare their hives for the extended lockdown, which meant many hives went without nourishment for weeks, if not months. Now, a new challenge is being realized in Spain.
On Friday, reports started surfacing of millions of bees being found dead throughout Spain. The possible reason… mass disinfections. Videos from China blew up on the internet through January and February of mass disinfections throughout China. Workers were seen going through the streets spraying liberally to decontaminate areas. While videos have not been predominant of the same throughout Europe, the same type of mass disinfections have happened.
This has meant large amounts of chemicals being released into the air to the demise of the honey bee. Roads, walls, streets, and trees have been sprayed for weeks, all without thought of how these chemicals would impact the environment. Now, by no means is anyone saying human lives should not have been considered in these extreme disinfections, but there may have been possible alternatives that could have been used that would not have been so decimating to the environment and the honey bee in particular.
Now, farmers are extremely worried that their crops will not be properly pollinated. Some crops rely completely on the honey bee while others rely on the honey bee to create a larger yield. If the honey bee deaths farmers are seeing now are as bad as they seem to think, it could lead to significant food shortages in the upcoming year. It could also dramatically impact trade in that in addition to food shortages locally, there will be no products to export.
Here in the United States, honey bees are directly responsible for pollinating roughly $15 billion in crops every year. While we would not expect that number to be as high in Spain, it will have a relative impact. This will also dramatically impact consumers because the Spanish government will have no choice but to import products, raising prices significantly over what consumers in this country are used to seeing.
Spain has currently invoked an emergency study to find the cause of the “mass culling,” and the rest of the world will be paying attention to see if this was due to mass disinfection or some other cause that can hopefully be avoided by other countries as we still try to navigate our way out of this crisis.
Source: Global News Hut