What can we do to save the bees?
What can we do to save the bees? (Smithsonian.com)
What can we do to save the bees?
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The federal government hopes to reverse America's declining honeybee and monarch butterfly populations by making more federal land bee-friendly, spending more money on research and considering the use of less pesticides.

Scientists say bees crucial to pollinate many crops have been hurt by a combination of declining nutrition, mites, disease and pesticides. The federal plan is an "all hands on deck" strategy that calls on everyone from federal bureaucrats to citizens to do what they can to save bees, which provide more than $15 billion in value to the U.S. economy, according to White House science adviser John Holdren.

"Pollinators are struggling," Holdren said in a blog post. He cited a new federal survey that found beekeepers lost more than 40 percent of their colonies last year, although they later recovered by dividing surviving hives. He also said the number of monarch butterflies that spend the winter in Mexico's forests is down by 90 percent or more over the past two decades. The U.S. government is working with Mexico to expand monarch habitats in the southern part of that country.

The plan calls for restoring 7 million acres of bee habitat in the next five years. Numerous federal agencies will have to find ways to grow plants on federal lands that are more varied and better for bees to eat because scientists have worried that large land tracts that grow only one crop have hurt bee nutrition.

The plan is not just for the Department of Interior, which has vast areas of land under its control. Agencies that wouldn't normally be thought of, such as Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation, will have to include bee-friendly landscaping on their properties and in grant-making.

That part of the bee plan got praise from scientists who study bees.

"Here, we can do a lot for bees and other pollinators," University of Maryland entomology professor Dennis vanEnglesdorp, who led the federal bee study that found last year's large loss. "This I think is something to get excited and hopeful about. There is really only one hope for bees and it's to make sure they spend a good part of the year in safe healthy environments. The apparent scarcity of these areas is what's worrying. This could change that."

University of Montana bee expert Jerry Bromenshenk said the effort shows the federal government finally recognizes that land use is key with bees.

"From my perspective, it's a wake-up call," Bromenshenk wrote in an email. "Pollinators need safe havens, with adequate quantities of high-quality resources for food and habitat, relatively free from toxic chemicals. And that includes pollutants as well as pesticides and other agricultural chemicals."

The administration proposes spending $82.5 million on honeybee research in the upcoming budget year, up $34 million from now.

The Environmental Protection Agency will step up studies into the safety of widely used neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been temporarily banned in Europe. It will not approve new types of uses of the pesticides until more study is done, if then, the report said.

"They are not taking bold enough action; there's a recognition that there is a crisis," said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director for the advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity. She said the bees cannot wait, comparing more studies on neonicotinoids to going to a second and third mechanic when you've been told the brakes are shot.

The report talks of a fine line between the need for pesticides to help agriculture and the harm they can do to bees and other pollinators.

Lessening "the effects of pesticides on bees is a priority for the federal government, as both bee pollination and insect control are essential to the success of agriculture," the report said.

Critical thinking challenge: How could federal departments such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation have an impact on bees?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/what-can-we-do-save-bees/

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COMMENTS (27)
  • SPhilip-Cas
    5/26/2015 - 09:05 a.m.

    The government can in fact have an impact on the bee population. The government can provide more funds for private bee keeping companies and make laws against the use of certain pesticides or killing of bees. This is important as bees play a major role in nature. Without bees we wouldn't have fruits which would be bad.

  • jordant-Koc
    5/26/2015 - 11:00 a.m.

    It's crazy that they are trying to restore and rebuild 7 MILLION acres of bee habitats. That is a lot of acres and a lot to do! The dedication to this is unreal and a great plan

  • GChelsea-Cas
    5/26/2015 - 12:03 p.m.

    Most people never think that one insect especially one that can hurt you as a kid could have such a huge impact on the world. Without bees we wouldn't have honey for one but fruits as well for some of them bees carry the pollen alot of animals carry pollen to help the plants pollinate. I like the idea about making more land bee friendly this way we can still enjoy the land and have bees alive. It's like a compromise we get to keep things how they are and bees get to stay alive. I just hope that people won't get stung more because alot of people are allergic to the stings.Either way i think its a great idea to help the bees when they're a key part to our ecosystem.

  • alysiah-Koc
    5/26/2015 - 12:07 p.m.

    We should really find a way to save all the bees. Bees actually really do a lot for us and we don't even know it. Without bees we wouldn't really be able to pollunate our flowers. We should really spend as much money as we can to save them. Hopefully all the bees won't die out.

  • 9alexr
    5/27/2015 - 12:38 p.m.

    I didn't think that bee population was such a problem. The article didn't really mention what I can do to save the bees though it just said they are spending a lot of money to save the bees it didn't even really mention how the would.

  • TreyvaunT
    5/27/2015 - 01:27 p.m.

    I know that bees are one of the biggest parts of nature, but they can get on my nerves. Every time ill be walking and it will just buzz right in front of me for like an hour. The more and more you look at it the more you feel like it is trying to steal your soul.

  • Ashleypatt
    5/27/2015 - 01:41 p.m.

    Most people dont think of bees being so important. They have lives like we do they feed off of flowers to get the polion and then they have babies for them to grow up like we do.

  • 9RyanS
    5/27/2015 - 05:01 p.m.

    Date: May 22, 2015
    Date Accessed: May 27, 2015
    Response type: 5ws
    Article title: What can we do to save the bees?

    The federal government hopes incline the monarch butterfly and honeybee population that is currently declining. In the next five years the plan is called to restore seven million acres of bee habitat, also work with Mexico to expand monarch habitats in the southern part of the country. This is being enforced because bees make up approximately fifteen billion dollars in value for the U.S. government, they also provide help with fruits and veggies, etc. This could be enforced by spending more money on research and use less pesticide.

  • KiraWvA-4
    5/27/2015 - 07:43 p.m.

    The federal government of the United States is working toward more bees and more monarch butterflies. It has a plan to add 7 million acres of bee habitat back to the nation in the next five years, work with Mexico to expand the monarch butterfly's migratory habitat there, and spend more money on researching the pesticide usage that impacts the bee habitat. Departments within the government that are not usually thought of to have a direct impact on the bees' habitat, such as the transportation and urban planning and development departments are rethinking how their policies might be killing the bees. However, some people are objecting that the Environmental Protection Agency is not taking bold enough actions to stop the bee crisis. It seems as if every time I log onto TweenTribune, there is yet another crisis. Way to go humans.

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    5/27/2015 - 08:05 p.m.

    Bees are very crucial to the production of agriculture. Without bees we would basically be nothing. Bees are the most crucial part of our society providing us with food of all kinds.

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