Why are bees in trouble




The fact that bees have become an endangered species is only known to us, because bees are the domestic animals of the bee keepers. reported dramatic losses in their colonies.

The dramatic losses would probably have gone unnoticed by the general public, hidden in the statistics of general species extinction.  

Species extinction has reached an alarming level, and the loss is running up to 1000 times faster than loss caused by natural evolution. In the EU alone, one in every four species is threatened by extinction. Across the whole of Europe, there is a strong and prolonged decline in numbers, for wild bees, honey bees and also many other different pollen collectors.

Due to human interference, ecosystems are being damaged so heavily, that many animals are lacking in food as well as their natural habitat. Many animal and plant species are being systematically exterminated by pesticides, and can no longer take their important place in the natural food cycle.

Insecticides, pesticides and fungicides are the main cause for the massive loss of biodiversity in Europe. Every time we increase the amount of grain that we produce, we destroy 50% of plant species’.

What would be the consequences that the extinction of bees and other species of insect, would have on the natural balance of our environment, which in fact owes its wealth of diversity to bees and other pollen collecting animals.



Up until the middle of the 20th century, bees collected most of their nutrition from wild herbs that grew in cultivated grain fields. Industrial agriculture practices, have now lead to these wild herbs being classed as weeds, and has therefore nearly eradicated there wild growth in our cultivated fields, now even wild herb seed is almost impossible to find.

Small scale farms, rich in plant and animal diversity are now giving way to large scale monoculture farms, which are also heavily contaminated with pesticides their fields are sanitized to such an extent, that the high yielding crops that are planted, supply no pollen or nectar for the bees.  Canola fields and wild dandelion offer a short-term respite in the spring, but then the food supply often breaks off abruptly and the bees literally starve. Beekeepers are then forced in order that the bees do not starve, to feed them with unnatural bee food supplements, and to search for other sources of nutrition for their bees.

Today’s common farming practices, lead to most meadows being mown just before the meadow has had a chance to blossom, and this is performed six times in one season, the hay itself is then converted to protein-rich silage. The areas around cultivated fields, wild meadows, the hedgerows, wild paths and field borders are sanitized to such an extent that no wild flower is allowed to grow there; the last truly free and wild retreats are gone! Our cultivated landscapes and our private gardens are dominantly characterized by well trimmed lawns and easy to care gardens.

The production of biogas will also reduce the supply of nutrition for bees still further, because corn, the raw material for methane production, is cultivated more and more on meadows and grassland.

Bees have lived in harmony with our blossoming landscape for millions of years, the blossoming landscape has been replaced with ever-increasing sterile green deserts, and the fertility of our soil has become impoverished, or has been completely destroyed by the heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers.



Neonicotinoids are systemic insecticides; Insects ingest the insecticide while feeding on the plants. Contact with the treated plants and feeding on them results in a poisoning of the bees nervous system. These toxins are distributed uniformly in the whole plant and the bees ingest the poison through pollen, nectar and water secretions of plants. A natural process in plants called Guttation, also secretes what is known as Guttation fluid, and due to neonicotinoids being present in the soil or in the plant itself, this Guttation fluid can have very high levels of the powerful active agents of neonicotinoids, bees will often use this Guttation fluid as a water source, and once this water has been ingested it can kill the bee within a few minutes.

In July 2008 German beekeepers in the Upper Rhine region reported that 50 to 100 percent of their hives had been lost after equipment used to plant corn seed, blew clouds of pesticide dust into the air, which was then pushed by the wind onto neighbouring canola fields in which bees kept by local beekeepers were collecting pollen, the neonicotinoid used, is a product of the Bayer pharmaceutical company called Clothianidin, and this incident in Germany was followed up by two other similar incidents in France and Canada.

Scientific research has shown that neonicotinoids have a sub-lethal poisoning effect on the bees; this obviously will not kill them outright, but has a long-term harmful impact on the entire bee colony.

This “sub-lethal poisoning” causes behavioural problems in the bees, such as complete disorientation and confusion, violent shaking, refusing food, hyperactivity, reduced collection performance, impaired memory and learning ability and an inability to communicate properly with other bees. Communication is the most important part of a bee’s social behaviour.

Other effects observed were, that the bee larvae suffered retarded development and a decrease of the worker bees life span. The insecticide imidacloprid decreased the size of hypopharyngeal gland in nurse bees, which has an unpredictable effect on the queen bee’s and on the larvae’s nutrition.

Chronic neonicotinoid poisoning was shown to exist in the entire bee colonies and this causes an increased susceptibility to diseases and parasites and also reduces the bee’s stress tolerance. Long-term side effects on bees, by sub-lethal doses of neonicotinoids were not researched by any of the neonicotinoid manufacturers.

Neonicotinoids were also not examined for their effects on the grooming behaviour of bees. This behaviour has a significant impact on the health of the bee colony.

This reciprocal grooming is seen as the bee’s most important natural defence mechanism against bee pathogens as well as parasites such as the Varroa mite. A strong and healthy bee colony has a highly developed sense of grooming. And only colonies with highly developed grooming practices have a chance to defend themselves against the Varroa mite.

The German chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturer Bayer promotes its product Premise 200 SC plus Nature which contains imidacloprid as being very effective in low doses, on the grooming behaviour of Termites.  Bayer's promotional literature markets the active ingredient - Imidacloprid - as being highly effective at killing termites because it 'inhibits grooming' in termites, which soon die as a result of an invasion by a wide range of fungal, bacterial and viral pathogens. The termites grooming behaviour normally removes fungi, bacteria and viral particles from the colony - but when the neurotoxin prevents grooming - the pathogens rapidly kill the entire colony. The following is part of the promotional material used by Bayer for Premise 200 SC plus Nature:

Low doses of imidacloprid disoriented the termites and caused them to cease their natural grooming behaviour. Grooming is important for termites to protect themselves against pathogenic soil fungi. When termites stop grooming, the naturally occurring fungi in the soil attack and kill the termites. Imidacloprid makes fungi 10,000 times more dangerous to termites. Nature assists imidacloprid in giving unsurpassed control. This control is called Premise 200SC plus Nature."

Bees and Termites are both extremely social insects and their grooming behaviour is massively important for the health of their respective colonies.

Western Europe is the largest user of agricultural toxins worldwide.

A ban on toxic pesticides, which are detrimental to the health of our bees, continues to be met with strong resistance from the large and powerful companies that produce these pesticides and this despite accumulating scientific evidence, which shows just how damaging their products are.

The licensing of pesticides by the European Commission is based on tests and examinations that are carried out by the companies that produce the pesticides, the results are not studied or confirmed by independent research. The European Commission would thus require a complete rethink and restructure to see the development and implementation of an independent and ethical system of test methods and studies, this restructuring would obviously require a great deal of time, and time is what we and the bees are running out of, the longer we wait the more long term the effects these toxins will have on our bees, insects and our shared natural environment. The spread of these toxins affects all of us and can be seen everywhere, it is on our fields, our meadows and pastures, fruit trees and vineyards, gardens and balconies, parks, golf courses, railway lines etc - and eventually we will find no place that is unaffected, it will be everywhere, in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the ground that we walk on.



Many beekeepers now understand that the crossbreeding of bees, to produce high performance bees, has had an increasingly negative impact on their bee colonies.

The process of collecting honey has become big business, where high yields are required and big profits can be made, in the last 50 years beekeeping has become just another economic factor and barely resembles the traditional methods used by organic beekeepers.

Learn more about Natural Beekeeping



The varroa mite (Varroa destructor) is a non-native mite, which originates from Asia; it found its way to Europe, when infected bees were imported here. It is seen by officials as the biggest threat to bees, and as the main reason, that bee populations are dying out.

The treatment for bees infected with the varroa mite is considered essential for the survival of the bees, this treatment, which uses harsh chemicals and potent acids to cleanse the bee population, is also known to be powerless in the eradication of the mite.

This, in other words means that without drugs, the bees are no longer able to survive. The fact is that now due to the mite’s resistance to the numerous drugs used to control them, that a variety of stronger more potent drugs, are now being developed and used in trying to control their effect and their spread. Unfortunately for the bees however is the fact that, all of these drug treatments weaken their immune system, and at the same time they hinder the bees abilities to build a natural resistance to these and other parasites and pathogens. The Varroa mite on the other hand, develops a resistance to these drugs, so therefore stronger drugs and treatments are then required to try to neutralize them.

Strong and healthy bee colonies, with a well-developed grooming behaviour purge can themselves of the mites on their own, but only provided that natural selection takes place. There are small bee populations even in Europe, populations that are totally free from drug and acid treatments, which have built equilibrium between host and parasite.

It is probably only a matter of time before there is an unintended introduction of another mite species.

The real solution to this problem does not lie in new drug treatments, which increasingly weaken the immune system of the bees, but can be found by adhering more too natural processes, such as organic beekeeping, which can develop the bees adaptability and full resistance to the mites using natural selection.

For over 30 million years bees have been living in harmonious coexistence with the ecosystem of our earth. Due to their amazing adaptability, they have often survived violent climatic changes as well as unnatural human intervention; and thus so they are protecting the continuity of their kind.

Currently, on our planet there are so many harmful influences to bees, that beekeepers have become aware of a sudden collapsing of entire bee colonies, particularly in the United States where they have given this phenomenon the name ”Colony collapse disorder”, where bees leave their colonies never to return.
Since we have replaced the bee’s natural evolutionary factors, with full domestication, then only we can ensure the bees survival against extinction.

We all need to take our responsibility seriously, and actively care about the survival of apis mellifera, our so very unique and valuable honey bee.

In a healthy and sustainable ecosystem, there are no outsiders, because every living being depends on the other for mutual prosperity.
But if we accept the extinction of bees or any other species, then there will soon be one outsider: Man.