Bees are dyingy
S M Shanthaveeraiah, former Assistant Director of Agriculture, Karnataka. He is also a bee keeper
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has added seven bee species in Hawaii to the federal list of endangered and threatened species. In India too, warming climate and habitat loss are driving Indian bee colonies to the brink
Like the US, India's bee colonies too are declining fast. Take, for instance, my state Karnataka. Kodagu honey is famous for its sweetness and purity. Its production was at its peak in 1982-84, when I was in service. But now, the honey bee colonies in the district have vanished. This is largely because of the spraying of herbicides and pesticides. The decline of bees in India, as in other countries, could have serious consequences for agriculture since bees are prime pollinators. There are two main reasons for this. One, apiculture is declining. And second, honey bees have no protection against herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals. But there is still hope. If people who have an interest in apiculture take to it seriously, we can still increase our bee populations.