As our final project for INFO 474, Darryl Ly, Monica Keosombath, and Iris Sun have teamed up to create an interactive visualization story to help Save the Bees!
Scroll through this site to learn what's all the buzz, and why you should care about the decline of honey bees.
The most important thing a bee does is pollinate! Bees are responsible for a large portion of agriculture ranging from fruits, vegetables, oils, nuts, and much more.
Without bees, we would have a scarcity of some of our favorite foods because there would be no ingredients to make it. This does not only apply to agricultural foods, but also crops that provide biofuels (canola oil and palm oil), fibers (cotton), and forage for livestock.
Although there are many factors leading to the declination of bees, we will be focusing on pesticides and its effect on colony collapse disorder.
In a recent study, it was found that on a global scale:
“75% of [honey] samples had measurable quantities of [neonicotinoid insecticides]” (source)
"Contamination rates were highest in North America with 86% of samples containing one or more neonicotinoid."
This was followed by Asia with 80% and Europe with 79%. The lowest was in South America with 57%.
Even more, almost half the samples contained a mix of insecticides.
What's more is that pesticides are a known contributor to Colony Collapse Disorder - another factor contributing to the decline of honey bees.
Good question! CCD is the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind their queen.
With the lack of support, the leftover nurse bees cannot successfully care for the queen and the children bees. This simulation represents how CCD occurs in a hive.
When bees pollinate a crop with pesticides, not only is their health decreased, but their neurological systems can become harmed.
This can affect the bees' ability to remember how to get back to their hives
Amount of Pesticides used:Medium
"Bees pollinate 70% of the world’s crops"
Although there are other pollinators, bees are the biggest contributors to the world’s crops. For example, honey bees contribute to 100%
of almond yield, 90% of apple yield and about 50% of coffee yields. Almonds and apples depend heavily on honey bees
for pollination because they are no self-compatible.
The seeds of one plant are unable to pollinate the rest of the plant. Therefore, they require honey bees to carry seeds between plants to cross-pollinate. These three types of food are only a small percentage of things that will be affected with the decline of honey bees
Along with the fruits and vegetable crops we've already discussed, the list could go on! Fruits and vegetables like blueberries, carrots, cherries, cucumbers, and watermelon would not easily attainable. Living without these ingredients would make every picnic a sad one :(
Bees help with not only the pollination of food, but also the pollination of wild flowers. Living without beautiful flowers could make the world seem less colorful. Some animal life are also indirectly affected by bees because if bees are unable to pollinate food such as clover or alfalfa for cattle, they would be very limited on food to eat.
Bees also contribute to the economy by providing $150 million of honey in a single year. By being a natural pollinator, bees were able to provide $19 billion of added value to agriculture business in 2010.