Problems Experienced By Pollinators
1. Pests, Parasites, And diseases
Like other livestock, pests and diseases negatively impact honey bees. Currently, the number one threat to honey bee populations is the varroa mite. Varroa mites are tiny parasitic mites that feed on the fat body of honey bees and weakens them. Varroa mites are also a vector for diseases that further harm the colony. Beekeepers can help decrease the amount of pest and disease in their hives through the use of chemical treatments (organic and inorganic), cultural methods such as screen bottom boards, breeding for pest and disease resistance, and by practicing good biosecurity habits in their bee yards. Implementing a variety of methods is crucial to ensure success.
Climate change is a factor that negatively impacts both honey bees and wild pollinators. With a changing climate, wild bees have faced a decrease in their native territory due to changing temperatures. Climate change also changes bloom times for flowering plants. This change can result in periods of time with decreased food availability, or no food at all. Changes in bloom times can be extra dangerous at the beginning of the spring as bees come out of hibernation in search of food. If early flowering plants are not in bloom due to irregular climate patterns, bees can starve.
One major issue affecting native pollinators is habitat loss. With increased urbanization and deforestation, there are less places for insects like solitary bees and bumble bees to make their homes and find food.
Honey bees and native bees can be negatively affected by pesticides. When pesticides are applied on windy days or when crops are in bloom, pollinators can come into contact with them. Foragers can be immediately impacted as they visit crops or neighbouring plants that the application drifted to, and pesticides are brought back to the colony through nectar and pollen. Although pest control in crops is very important for a successful yield, it is becoming more evident that changes need to be made to protect our pollinators as well.