The buzz about bees and how UC San Diego is doing its part to preserve and protect pollinatorsNovember 26, 20192 min read
They may be small, but bees play a leading role in the way the world eats. Plants and flowers need to be pollinated to grow, blossom and bear fruit or seeds. Without bees taking on this task, this vital component of nature’s ongoing cycle ceases. And that could mean calamity on a global scale.
Locally, the numbers are not good.
“Pollinators like bees are under threat because of parasites, pesticide use, destruction of habitat and the climate crisis. The top threat in California is a parasite called Varroa, followed by other pests, parasites and diseases and then pesticides. Those threats have remained consistent since 2015.
The latest results, which cover up to April 1, show a slight decrease in the honeybee population, both in California and nationwide. In California, there were 30,000 fewer honeybee colonies between Jan. 1, 2017 and Jan. 1, 2019, a loss of about 2.6 percent of the state’s honeybee colony population.
Previous surveys showed a loss of 19 percent of honeybee colonies in California between 2015 and 2017, about 270,000 colonies lost. Nationwide, the decrease was smaller, with honeybee colonies during that time decreasing from about 2.8 million to 2.6 million.
California particularly needs honeybees for pollinating crops such as almonds, apples, avocados and grapes.” Sacramento Bee
There is, however, good news in sight. And it’s coming from the local level of politics and through community action. UC San Diego’s Professor James Nieh is using his expertise to work with San Diego municipalities in finding ways to protect native bees and other pollinators and reduce pesticide use. With this, San Diego has an opportunity to become a leader and a model for larger municipalities seeking to limit pesticides and increase pollinator habitats.
It’s a fascinating story and if you are a journalist covering this topic – let our experts help with your stories.
Dr. James Nieh is a professor in the Section of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution. Nieh’s interests focus on bee communication, cognition, and health. He studies many types of social bees, including honeybees, bumble bees, and stingless bees. James is available to speak with media regarding this topic – simply click on his icon to arrange an interview.
James Nieh Professor, Section of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution
James Nieh's research focuses on bees and how their bodies fight infections.