How Climate Change impacts honey bees
Shorter winters and extreme weather events impact the bees

Honey bees play a pivotal role in our global food supply by acting as essential pollinators. The repercussions of their decline are far-reaching, impacting the variety and affordability of the foods we rely on daily, as well as the environment. Though not the only stressor, climate change, is significantly contributing to the dwindling numbers of honey bees. In this blog post, we will explore how climate change is adversely affecting these crucial pollinators.

Extreme Weather Events

Climate change has unleashed more extreme weather patterns worldwide, posing a direct threat to honey bee colonies. Australia, in recent years, has experienced intensified heat and drought, leading to more frequent and intense bushfires. In 2023, wildfires in Canada devastated approximately 18.496 million hectares of land, claiming thousands of bee colonies in their destructive path. Floods, hurricanes, and droughts are wreaking havoc in other regions, impacting the very environments honey bees depend on. For example, drought conditions in the western U.S. in 2021 led to the depletion of bee forage, directly leading to the loss of thousands of colonies.

Shorter Winters, Less Brood

Climate change is altering the seasons, leading to shorter winters. While for many people this may sound great, it has detrimental consequences for honey bees. Shorter winters mean less time for bees to rear brood, the next generation of worker bees, which impacts the survivability of the colony over the coming seasons.

Mismatch Between Flowering and Bee Seasons

Research indicates that climate change is causing mismatches in the synchronization between bees and flowers. With earlier spring onset, flowers either bloom sooner or in different areas, potentially leading to a misalignment with the presence of bees for pollination. Timing is critical for successful pollination, and any change can result in less nutritious pollen and nectar for the colony, as well as less effective pollination.

To save the bees and secure the future of our food supply, it is imperative that we address climate change and implement sustainable practices. The fate of honey bees is linked to our own, and by mitigating climate change, we can ensure a healthier and more sustainable future for both them and us.

How Climate Change impacts honey bees
Vatorex AG, Pascal Brunner 30 June, 2024
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Pollination limitation