Digital photomontage created from a photograph of flotex carpet magnified 100 times using a scanning electron microscope at uclan, images of real bees and actual gas masks.
The work above was created this winter in response to the research I have been doing over the last few years investigating the decline in bee population and its possible causes. The alarming news that bee decline has reached 30% in the western world has made the issue become mainstream news. The value of this insect to us is difficult to estimate, in 2005 the figure £130 billion was made, as it is vital for pollinating our crops. 90% of the world’s food focuses on a hundred crop species and over 70 of these rely on bees to pollinate them.
Scientists have shown that the grave reduction in bee numbers is due to air pollution, intensive farming, over-cropping, loss of flowering plants, decline in beekeepers, a lethal pinhead-sized parasite that has been wiping out colonies in the last 30 years (Varroa destructor) and most importantly the increased use of pesticides and herbicides.
The insecticide neonicotinoid has negative affects on the bee colonies – it has been shown to scramble their navigation systems so they get lost. Sold since 1994 the insecticide forms a coat on the seeds which is then absorbed into the growing plant where some is ingested by the bees. The latest thinking is to ban these chemicals but some scientists and bee keepers are still unconvinced that the replacements will fair better with the insect.
I can not be alone in thinking that the problems endless artificial fertilisers cause should make us re-evaluate our farming methods and return to safer and more sustainable production. We can all aim to value food more, eat less, expect less, share more and generally take better care of the creatures who buzzzzz past us.