What You Need to Know About Organic Farming and Bee Populations
Bees are among our most important pollinators, and scientific evidence shows their existence is currently threatened by conventional agricultural practices.
According to Greenpeace, we’re experiencing a global pollinator crisis and a large part of the problem is linked to industrial farming’s increasing applications of fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides and their resulting effects on pollinator health, and a loss of natural and semi-natural habitat on field, farm, and surrounding landscapes from high-intensity monocultures.
With the mass decline in wild bee populations and a trend of managed bee colony collapse comes a decrease in our food security and an increased vulnerability to the consequences of climate change. This significant issue has led many to consider how organic farming can help save the bees.
Recent research has shown that organic farming is a viable method of managing bee health and stabilizing a wide-variety of pollinator populations. There are two main reasons contributing to this claim. On the one hand, organic farming fosters a balanced ecosystem, leading to increased floral biodiversity that is not found in conventional practices that favour expansive monocrops. On the other hand, the use of pesticides is reduced and the type is different. Organic farming avoids applications of glyphosate and neonicotinoids, both of which have been proven as hazardous to bee health and have thus been banned by the European Union.
While some studies have argued without conclusive evidence that organic pesticides are also harmful to pollinators, we can only work with the hard facts. We know without doubt that the pesticides and high-intensive monocrops that are characteristic of conventional farming practices are directly contributing to our global problem with sustaining pollinator populations. In result, many organizations like Bee the Cure, Organic Soil Association, and Friends of the Earth encourage the reduction of pesticides and implementation of ecological farming practices, including organic methods, to help save the bees.
Organic farming nurtures its land resources, feeding into its fertility and fostering necessary biodiversity required for pollinators and wildlife to flourish. With this process naturally comes a reduction in need for heavy-use of input chemicals. This is good for the environment, human health, and our important pollinators.