The most important biological function of bees is pollinating plants so that they become fertilized and produce fertile seeds capable of bearing fruit. The food of all humanity depends 80% on this pollinating work. In order to raise awareness about the importance of this insect species and the many threats they face, the United Nations (UN) declared May 20th as the “World Bee Day”.
One of the main threats to this useful insect is the abuse of chemicals and substances. Data from the Costa Rican Beekeepers Organization indicate that, so far this year, 20 million intoxicated bees have died.
“Bee populations in Costa Rica have severely declined. Honey bees, for example, last year decreased by 100 million, which represents 250,000 deaths per day due to massive poisoning”, commented Juan Bautista Alvarado, director of the organization.
The expert on these pollinators commented that, in 2020, they received 30 complaints about massive poisoning and that the current year they already counted 6. However, he emphasized that there is a wide list of these situations that are not reported yet.
Political will and commitment to encourage its conservation
Bautista commented that to reverse the national panorama in this matter, political will and commitment on the part of those who make decisions are needed. “Costa Rica lacks efficient public policies to protect bees. We need a comprehensive national plan to conserve them. The productive model that we have in the agricultural sector is incompatible with the populations of this insect, because it is based on the excessive, irrational and negligent use of pesticides, the main threat to bees”, explained the director of the Beekeepers Organization.
Likewise, he emphasized that the country needs to strengthen legal mechanisms, since it considers that it does not have a robust system and, although the corresponding processes are carried out when massive poisonings occur, it is difficult for them to be fully complied with.
For him, convictions also play against, since they are administrative and for amounts ranging from ¢ 500,000 to ¢ 2,000,000.
Help bees from your home
It is also difficult for this pollinating insect to obtain food, mainly in the rainy season. For this reason, Bautista recommended that citizens plant trees and flowers in their gardens. “The best we can do is helping them with food. Especially species of interest to bees, such as aromatic and fruit trees, can be planted in the garden”, said the expert.
Another action that can be taken to protect them is to eliminate the use of chemical products, which are constantly used in agricultural activities. In this way, pollution of water sources is prevented, from where bees also quench their thirst.