A new study, conducted by researchers at The University of Western Australia in collaboration with Kings Park and Botanic Gardens has come to a disheartening conclusion:
When honey bees cannot find food, they simply stop searching and die.
Researchers studies the honey bee and its relationship to land that has been degraded by human activity and found that the lack of food and natural habitat has a profound impact on the bee beyond causing it to starve.
Researchers, lead by Emeritus Professor Don Bradshaw, wanted to examine what happened to the metabolism of the honey bee when impacted by man-made causes to the environment.
“Before conducting the experiment we thought the bees would have a much higher metabolism in degraded areas because they would need to travel further in search of food,” Professor Bradshaw said of their findings.
“Surprisingly we found the opposite. The metabolic rate of bees in natural woodland was actually significantly higher than in a degraded environment,” Professor Bradshaw continued.
“Rather than travel in search of food in degraded areas, the bees foraged less and depended on stored resources inside the hive.”
“We were also able to measure their intake of nectar which showed that the bees in the degraded landscape were feeding less.”
The bee is vital not just for pollination but for the overall continued survival of humanity as well. One in three calories involves a plant pollinated by pollinators, like the honey bee.
What this proves beyond a doubt is that no matter where you are or how little room you have, we all have a responsibility to provide pollinators with food and to care for the land better than we have been.