Human society is extremely complex and fragile,
built upon various pillars.
One of them is the honey bee.
One out of three meals eaten by humans is made possible by honey bees.
They are so important that if all the honey bees were to die out,
thousands of plants would follow,
which could lead to millions of people starving in the following years.
On top of that, honey bees have a huge economic impact.
The dollar value of plants pollinated by them each year
is around $265 billion.
我们认为理所当然享用的食物 没有它们 也将不复存在
Food we take for granted would just stop existing without them,
or there would be a massive decrease in productivity.
诸如 苹果 洋葱 南瓜 以及一些用来喂养家畜的植物
Food including apples, onions, pumpkins, and also plants used for feeding livestock
and thus extremely important for our milk and meat.
Einstein is often quoted as having said,
“If honey bees die out, humans will follow a few years later.”
Actually, he probably didn’t say that,
but there might be some truth in the statement.
这让人焦躁 但 蜜蜂已经开始在消失了
It’s unsettling, but honey bees have started to disappear.
Millions of hives have died in the last few years.
Beekeepers all over the world have seen an annual loss of 30–90% of their colonies.
In the US alone, bees are steadily declining.
>From 5 million hives in 1988 to 2.5 million today.
Since 2006, a phenomenon called “colony collapse disorder”
has affected honey bees in many countries.
And we’re not entirely sure what’s causing it.
All we know is that it’s pretty serious.
Over the last few decades bees have seen an invasion of very dangerous foes.
Parasites straight out of a horror movie, like Acarapis woodi,
microscopic mites that infect the tracheae (that’s the breathing tubes) of bees.
Here, they lay their eggs and feed from the fluids of their victims,
weakening them considerably and spending their whole life inside the bees.
或者是 瓦螨 与它们的名字很相称 因为它们只能在蜂巢里
Or Varroa destructor, a fitting name because they can only reproduce
in honey bee hives and are one of the bees’ greatest enemies.
The female mite enters a honey bee brood cell and lays eggs on the bee larva
before it’s about to pupate and
before the hive bees cover the cell with a wax capping.
The eggs hatch and the young mites and their mother feed on the developing bee
in the safety of the capped cell.
因此 在这一阶段一般不会被杀死 但会变弱
The bee is not normally killed at this stage, just weakened,
so it still has enough strength to chew its way through the wax capping
and release itself from the cell.
As it does, it releases the mother mite and her new offspring from the cell,
and these are free to spread across the hive,
starting the process over again in a cycle of about 10 days.
Their numbers grow exponentially, and after a few months,
this can lead to the collapse of the entire bee hive.
Once outside of the cell, adult mites also suck the bodily fludis of bees
and weaken them considerably.
为了进一步破坏 这些螨虫还把对蜜蜂有害的细菌携带进来 更差劲的是
To make things worse, they also transmit viruses that harm the bees even more
还会导致蜜蜂的生理缺陷 如 无用的翅膀
and can lead to birth defects like useless wings.
但 还有其它的威胁 如 细菌和真菌
But there are other threats too, such as viruses and fungi.
Under normal circumstances, these phenomena should be manageable
and are not enough to explain
the horrendous amount of dying going on in bees.
Over recent years new insecticides have been introduced
that are deadly to bees.
新烟碱 一种家用化学药品 与尼古丁相似
Neonicotinoids, a chemical family similar to nicotine,
was approved in the early 1990s as an alternative to chemicals like DDT.
They attack insects by harming their nervous systems.
Today, they are the most widely used insecticides in the world.
Globally, they saw sales of €1.5 billion in 2008,
representing 24% of the global market for insecticides.
In 2013, neonicotinoids were used in the US on about 95% of corn and canola crops,
and also on the vast majority of fruit and vegetables,
如 苹果 殷桃 梨子 橘子 莓类 叶类植物 番茄 土豆
like apples, cherries, peaches, oranges, berries, leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes,
谷类作物 稻类 坚果类 葡萄 以及更多
cereal grains, rice, nuts, grapes, and many more.
Bees come into contact with the toxin
while collecting pollen or via contaminated water,
often bringing material into the hive,
在这里 它们会累积 直至慢慢杀死整个蜂群
where it can accumulate and slowly kill the whole colony.
The toxins harm bees in a variety of horrible ways.
有足够的量 它迅速的导致(蜜蜂)痉挛 麻痹 以及死亡
In high enough doses, it quickly leads to convulsions, paralysis, and death.
But even in small doses, it can be fatal.
It may lead to bees forgetting how to navigate the world,
因而 蜜蜂飞到野外，迷路 以及孤独的死去 脱离它们的蜂巢
so bees fly into the wild, get lost, and die alone, separated from their hives.
If this happens often enough, a hive can lose its ability to sustain itself.
We know that neonicotinoids are harmful to bees
and that we urgently need an alternative to it,
but there are billions of dollars to be made in delaying this.
Studies sponsored by the chemical industry magically appear to prove
a much lower toxicity to bees, compared to those produced by independent scientists.
There are even more factors contributing to the demise of bees,
像是 遗传单一性 作物种植单一性
like too much genetic uniformity, crop monocultures,
poor nutrition due to overcrowding, stress because of human activities,
and other pesticides.
Each of those factors on its own is a major problem for bees,
但组合到一起 它们就会促成 “蜂群衰竭失调”的产生
but together, they probably account for colony collapse disorder.
With parasites upping their game in recent decades,
the honey bees are now fighting for survival.
It would be a catastrophe if they lost this fight.
This is a conundrum we have to solve if we want to continue living
with a relative abundance and diversity of food.
Humanity is deeply interconnected with Earth and the other lifeforms on it,
even if we pretend that we’re not.
We have to take better care of our surroundings,
if not to preserve the beauty of nature, then at least to ensure our own survival.
This video is supported by the Australian Academy of Science,
which promotes and supports excellence in science.
See more at .
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