Loading

BEE PROTECTION

One of our mates, Iñigo Aretxabala, was really concerned about the disparation of the bees and the consequences of this lack. During the last years, the population of these insects is decreasing so fast that pollination is in real problems. 

Therefore, we decided to develop this project, whose aim has been to raise awareness within the population. We have been working with our city council, and in the following months we are going to give some speechs, and build some hotels for insects in our town.

OUR RESEARCH

Up to 90% of bees worldwide have disappeared according to recent research. The main reasons are massive deforestation, shortage of safe places to nest, lack of flowers, uncontrolled pesticide use and soil change.

Moreover, bees are the only living organism that is not a carrier of any type of pathogen, except fungi, viruses or bacteria.

70% of the world’s agriculture depends on these insects, to put it more clearly and more directly, we can say that 70 of the 100 foods are available to bees.

WHY ARE BEES DISAPPEARING?

  • Continuous spillage: People want honey bees, and for that purpose they destroy the bee hives to get honey.

  • Massive deforestation: Cities are expanding, and many cities are in need of resources to grow, one of those resources being timber. To get the wood you need to cut down the trees and also the beehive.

  • Shortage of safe places: Humans need wood and there are bees in the trees. The bees move to another place, but humans build more and more, and the bees do not move to another place.

  • Lack of space: Cities and towns are growing larger, with fewer and fewer flowers in the world: cities, roads, etc. They occupy a lot of space and take away space for the plants.

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF BEES DISAPPEARED?

Bees are the driving force in the world, so the pollination process develops, allowing plants to grow, the main protagonists of the food chain. Therefore, in case of extinction, the consequences would be very simple and serious: the flora and fauna would disappear,  and so would we.

The consequences of the disappearance of bees would be:

  • The disappearance of the ecological balance: the bees carry out pollination and this process, in addition to the appearance of plants, creates food for herbivorous animals. Therefore, if they disappeared, the entire food chain would be on the edge. In addition, plants are needed to clean the air and generate oxygen. So, the fewer plants there are, the worse the Earth’s air quality will be.

  • Loss of biodiversity: as we have already mentioned, without pollination, without noology, many plants will disappear, and this  will bring less biodiversity on the planet. According to FAO surveys (National Association Adelladelation), each year we lose 10% of biodiversity. 90% of plants depend on pollination. Moreover,plants have a direct relationship with a pollinating insect, i.e. pollination can only occur with a particular species of bees. Bees, in fact, are in the extinction strip both in number of population and in number of species.

  • Loss of food diversity: our diet is very varied to pollinating insects. There are 264 crop species and 4,000 plant species in Europe, 84% of which depend on pollination. Some species, such as apples or peaches, pollinating insects, and without them manual pollination make them a luxury product, a very slow and therefore expensive process.

  • More expensive agriculture: the work of pollinating insects saves 265 billion euros annually to agriculture in the world, 22 billion in Europe and 2.4 billion in Spain. Bees are therefore essential for agriculture, if not, the viability of the sector would be ready.

  • Disappearance of honey: honey is the only sweetener that some societies have. Therefore, if they disappeared or become too expensive, their diet would be affected. Similarly, the production of honey is the only work and income of many families, so its disappearance will also bring us economic problems.

What can we do? Solutions

At least to avoid or reduce this problem, humans have many possibilities:

  • Do not throw away toxic products: reduce the use of harmful products in agriculture and industry. Instead, insecticide, etc. They can be used more natural.

  • Trying to buy eco-friendly things: so, non-organic producers would see that the market demands this type of products and in order not to lower their sales would change the production system.

  • Monitoring their health: research of groups of bees to know their behavior, member number, and thus take the necessary measures as soon as possible.

  • Awareness on the part of society: despite being a very serious problem, it does not generally exist.

As we have said, as a society we can do many things to better protect bees, but ourselves, we wanted to do something to reduce this problem. That’s why, for the first time, we’re investigating what the law says.

Here in the Basque Country we have a decree related to the problem: Decree 33/2004, approved on February 10:

“In the framework of the prevention of bee diseases, a Bee Health Plan will be created […] at least one plan to fight the Varroasis and the American Loque, plus other plans depending on the health status of the bees.”

Aid of EUR 40000 is granted to each of the Provincial Councils for the implementation of these measures. This decree also lays down other rules such as the code for the exploitation of bees, minimum health of the exploitation of bees, rules for the maintenance of the welfare of bees – for the good maintenance of the health of bees, as well as health controls, among others.

What are these diseases?

Varroasis: varroa is a genus of mites in the family Varroasis. This ectoparasite attacks bees in both larval and pupal state when they have arrived. These parasites grow next to bee larvae and feed on a liver-like organ that bees have. The bee at birth is less weight than normal and has less protein. If more than 8 mites infect a bee’s larvae, it dies before becoming an adult. Infected bees can go to other cummen, spreading the mite.

What is American: it is a disease that affects the larvae of bees, is the most widespread disease of beekeeping, does not affect humans.

Our contribution: insect hotels

The hotel for insects is a haven from the diversity, and a huge help for our gardeners and gardens. With the help of recycled materials we have investigated what the benefits of hotels are for these little survivors and how we can build a hotel with ease.

The expansion of urban settlements and the disappearance of forests reduce habitat spaces for bees. For this reason, scientists, as researchers from the Research Center of the National University of Nicaragua (One), decided to create spaces that would allow the fixation and reproduction of bees.

Hotels are chaletstyle structures. Researchers say this initiative encourages the growth of native species and white bees. Bee hotels, academically meliponarian, can house colonies of different species in which there are rigid bees. These areas are made up of elements of wood, earth or clay that allow different species to fix their nests.

“It helps to promote the diversity of insect and bee habitat spaces. Areas that have disappeared from the expansion of urban settlements, the hotel offers substrates where different species of bees can be installed and reproduced “scientists defend.

The developers of this project aim to get bee hotels to work for different purposes, such as promoting education, encouraging people’s interest, learning biology for academic or hobby purposes, and starting a process of raising awareness for the public.

That is why, once our validity has been investigated, we thought it would be useful to build these types of hotels from our village. For this, we needed the authorization and collaboration of the City Council and therefore, we contacted the mayor by e-mail. He invited us to present the project to the city hall, and once listened he found it entirely useful and achievable. That’s why our next step is to start designing the location, materials, design and construction plan of our “future” hotels!

Similarly, our other proposal has been to give lectures. In other words, we want to disseminate our research among the people of Zalla and for this we are also preparing the organization of these talks: speech that we will give, place, permits, technical means that we will use, etc. Once finished we will share the results!