While there has been a great deal of attention placed on the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder, the bees that are affected by CCD are commercial honeybees, with known populations that have numbers that can be easily quantified. However, the pollination provided by wild bees is also important to the growth cycle of crops, and supplements the job done by commercial honeybees. But as their hives aren’t monitored by beekeepers, a loss in their numbers aren’t as immediately noticed.
To help combat declining bee populations, Canadian researchers have been granted funding to study the genetic makeup of honeybees, to identify the markers of 12 economically-desired traits that the important insects have; then, they plan to use that knowledge to breed a genetically-superior bee, one designed to survive harsh Canadian winters.
The humble honey bee, so small and insignificant. Yet could the possible extinction of this tiny creature have a severe and profound impact on our future?
Bee populations have been slowly dwindling for decades, threatened by a variety of different environmental adversaries, yet little is being done to recognise the profound impact their extinction would have on agriculture, our food supplies and our lives.