How insecticides are contributing to bee extinction

Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides used by farmers, have caused the bee population to decrease by 80 percent

The Mahoning and Columbiana County Bee Association says the bee population is in danger of extinction.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A local beekeeping community says the bee population is in danger and if they become extinct, daily life could drastically change.

More than 40 percent of the bee and pollinator population is facing extinction, according to a recent report from an international panel on biodiversity.

It might be surprising to learn just how important bees are to people.

“One bite out of every third that we eat is because there was a honey bee involved in it,” said George Lacy of the Mahoning and Columbiana County Bee Association.

The report states $577 billion of the world’s crops are directly affected by pollinators, and 90% of wild flowering plants depend on them.

Apitherapist Floid Alexander uses bees for medicinal use. He’s used their venom to destroy calcium in over 5,000 patients with diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, to help relieve pain and increase mobility.

“It’s amazing. It just relieves pain out of the body in 15 minutes,” Alexander said.

Because the bees die naturally when they sting his patients, he needs a large amount of them. Alexander says it’s difficult to obtain wild bees.

“I’m hoping that those swarms will stay. I’ve gotten out and got wild swarms, and they’d be gone the next day.”

Stacy says a product that farmers are using is killing bees off.

“The neonicotinoids, which is a class of insecticides that they’ve developed in the last six or seven years.”

He says the insecticides have caused an 80 percent decrease in the bee population. Replacing those bees could cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.

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