Tuesday, 29 March 2016
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Hi Steve,

How is everything going?

I'm loving the videos! They are very informative and it is great having my senoir school biology teacher still teaching me while I'm in Uni :)

A problem has been on my mind since last year and it involves the bees. Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the bees disappearing (mainly the european honey bee which does most of our crop fertilisation I believe). It is thought to be a combination between the impacts of the verroa mite (not in Australia yet) and the disappering colony problem, the latter I've been reading about and people believe it has a large part to do with our large scale monotonous plant crops.

Whats your opinion on this?

Sorry for the long and messy question haha :P

Kind regards,


5 years ago
Hi Maddy

Great to hear from you :)I hope your university studies are going well :)

Bees are a really interesting topic .... a friend of mine operates quite a few hives and we were only discussing this problem recently.

Unfortunately it is a really difficult question to answer, in fact I am not sure that there is a known single answer. Is it the large scale mono-crops that you mentioned, or is it fungicides or pesticides used on the crops? Perhaps it is some other environmental factor such as changing weather patterns brought about by climate change.

It may even be the result of a combination of factors.

Here's what I can say and do believe though:

all organisms within an ecosystem do NOT exist in isolation; a change in one, will have an impact on one or more others and this then compounds more broadly. The only unknown is the size of the impact. Therefore, as a global community, we need to be very mindful of these impacts and what we utilise in the large scale production of food.

Honey bees are much more important to the ecosystem than just the provision of honey to us. As you say, they are major pollinators. Significantly reduced pollination ultimately means significantly reduced plant reproduction and the outcome of that doesn't bear thinking about.

Lastly, in the absence of a definitive answer, to me it makes much sense to not just treat the symptoms. We need to address those things that are probably at the core of the problem; such things as acting on climate change and working with the ecosystem rather than against it by; increasing the use of biological management of pests and diseases and minimising the use of large scale mono-crops (although this will be very difficult).

Hope this makes sense and is helpful :)


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