Pollinators are declining globally, could possibly affect our food chain

Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 5:38 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - “Without bees, we would not have a supply that we have today. We would eventually run out of food if it weren’t for the bees,” said Dakota Honey and Bee Supplies Co-owner Joan Clements.

According to Bee City USA, there’s been a significant decline in native pollinator population sizes globally over the past decade and a half. Up to 40 percent of pollinator species on Earth could be at risk of extinction in the coming years due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change.

“Bees is a multi-billion dollar industry, so money wise the decline of bees affects the whole economy from billions of dollars, plus since they pollinate a third of our food supply. And if there’s a lessening of our food supply, it just trickles down and affects all different types of food that we get,” said Dakota Honey and Bee Supplies Owner Bill Clements.

Dakota Honey and Bee Supplies bee colony
Dakota Honey and Bee Supplies bee colony(KOTA/KEVN)

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is an abnormal condition where most worker bees in a honey bee colony vanish, leaving behind only the queen. Experts started noticing decreases in honey bee hives in 2006.

“Bees are extremely vital for South Dakota because our main income here in the state is agriculture. So since we sell bees, that’s a lot of the reason we do it is because it is so important to South Dakota, and it’s very important to us,” said Joan Clements

Bees pollinate by spreading the pollen from flowers onto themselves first and then to other plants.

“Honey Bees ... there’s about 60,000 honey bees in one colony with one Queen, so there’s a lot of them versus another insect that has much smaller colonies. So even though they pollinate, there’s lots of bees,” said Bill Clements.

To help stop the decline of the bee population, you can avoid using insecticides or harsh chemicals on lawns, plant more wildflowers, reduce fossil fuel usage, and most importantly, build bee gardens.