The Cause of Decline In Your Honey Production


Are you a bee farmer who has noticed a decline in honey production? Have you wondered why there are no bees in your beehives? Wondered why there is a decline in the number of bees in your apiary? Are you intending to venture into bees farming and wondering where to place your beehives?


Apiculture which is bee farming is one of the cheapest and easiest form of agriculture with the lowest cost as what you need is beehives alone. Honey is one of the natural sources of sugar to the human body and with the changing feeding system most people are turning to natural foods with low sugars and fats. This has led to increased demand for these foods with increased prices. The high market demand has attracted allot of farmers to venture into this farming with an aim of satisfying the large market demand.

Desertification has still continued to increase due to climate change has continued to increase with more and more arable land becoming deserts. This has attracted a lot of non-government organizations to introduce apiculture in these ASAL areas as a way of economic empowerment to the communities in these regions and as especially women as men are involved in pastoralism. For some time this has worked with increased honey production with its value addition, but with the introduction of irrigation systems, modern agriculture with much use of pesticides, production of honey has declined.in this article, we are going to analyses why this is the case.

Unfortunately, this decline is associated with the increased use of pesticides and especially neonicotinoids which are widely used in Kenya. According to Berndt Welz in his report Bayer and the Bees, these neonicotinoids which are similar to the once used in Kenya are responsible for the massive deaths of bees in Germany.

The problem starts with the maize/corn farmers. The insecticides the seeds are often treated with results in a toxic dust cloud during planting which causes massive deaths of bees in Germany killing more than 12000 bees’ colonies in the region while more than 500m bees suffered in agonizing pain and death. But how did this happen? During planting some of the red pesticides coating the corn/maize seeds rubbed off and was released in the environment. “….insecticide residue that is rubbed of the seeds that were released into the air during planting and the bees that passed through the dust crowd died immediately but the worst bit was that the dust settled on flowering plants and thus the bees gathered contaminated pollen grains.” Explained Christopher Koch, A Breisgau Bee Keeper.

Nionix is often applied in the form of seed dressing instead of spraying as traditional pesticides. The seed coated with insecticides is then drove into the ground using a seed planter. These toxins are effective to the plant from the roots to the entire plant as it grows to make it immune to pests in the ground and the field.

Even though the blame was placed on the mechanical planters, study shows neonicotinoids impacts the entire ecosystem. According to Hennic Tennekes, a Dutch toxicologist; neonicotinoids are water-soluble and relatively marble in the ground, so when it rains they are easily washed into the groundwater and runoff water which means they affect the whole environment and are also absorbed by flower plants via their root. The entire landscape becomes toxic for insects and it’s fair to assume that this will lead massive death of insects and if the insects disappear the ecosystem collapses that’s why this is ecological harm again as we are destroying the whole nature. He believes nonixs’ are the main cause of insect deaths around the world and via the food chain also responsible for the decline in the population of birds, reptiles and amphibians and it is evident they are harmful to human beings too.

In 2018 European Union burned the use of at least three of the five neonicotinoids nineteen years after France burned one product containing neonicotinoids due to massive death of bees. Jean-marc  Bonmatin, a toxicologist investigated the cause of massive bees death on behalf of the beekeepers in the mid-’90s as suspicion had grown on one of the neonicotinoids called imidacloprid and they were able to prove that everything relevant to the bees whether is the corn, sunflower, nectar, water and everything was contaminated and the level of toxin in the open countryside was so high to either kill the bees or cause great long term problems leading to France burning the use of neonicotinoids on sunflowers and later on all crops in 2018.

According to Spanish toxicologist Francisco Sanchez Bayo, in most countries which these neonicotinoids are used, 40% of insect species are declining and one-third of those is declining rapidly and is threatened with extinction.

When reached out for comment by Wilz, Beyer said “Bayer remains convinced that […] use of neonicotinoids is safe for humans and the environment provided they are used responsibly and in accordance with the instruction of use “According to Dutch toxicologist…….he came across a study by one of the Beyer scientist in 1991 whose findings were outstanding. The Beyer scientist describes the effects of the first neonicotinoids on another system of a fly which are described as irreversible. Imidacloprid is the first highly effective insecticide that works on the principle of almost completely blocking […] receptors, in a way that is virtually irreversible” Beyer study 1991.

I know at this point you are wondering, what I should do with my hatcheries. It’s fair to say at this point that the decline in honey production is from the use of these neonicotinoids as there is a direct correlation between the use of neonicotinoids and the massive deaths of bees.it true we cannot depend on the government and other regulatory bodies to control the use as they have already failed and the only option is for the bees farmer to one, Avoid the use of seeds dressed with these neonicotinoids. Use of biological methods in orchards, corn/maize, canola or even sunflower farms in the control pests.Since we cannot control what our neighbour plant if you can get allocation far away from these farms especially in ASALS areas and for you who is intending to venture into bees farming first carry out the analysis of the area you want to mount your hives and the crops, are grown and their management as well. For the NGO’S and County governments promoting this farming, they should take a keen look before investing a lot of money on this which may not come into fruition. Since agriculture is a devolved function county may opt to regulate the use of this neonicotinoids. It may also put more enfaces on Organic farming. 

Reference

Welz Berndt. Bayer and the Bees: Big Pharma under Pressure. 2019 https://youtu.be/UaNSByf4sLA

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