Pollinators are the lifeblood of ecosystems everywhere. They help plants reproduce, increase biodiversity, facilitate the dispersal of species into new regions, maintain genetic diversity within plant populations, increase fruit yields, and support flora and fauna at every level of the food chain. But for the past 10 years, bee keepers have been finding their hives suddenly and inexplicably abandoned. In the years since, the phenomenon often called Colony Collapse Disorder has been reported in Egypt, China, Europe, USA, Japan and the Middle East. This handy map reveals which countries are doing their part to stop the collapse and which have a long way to go.
Along with neonicotinoids, there are a vast array of pesticides and insecticides that are known to contribute to bee decline worldwide. While there have been some recent measures taken to ban certain culprits, with the EU leading the way with a ban on neonicotinoids in 2013, there is still widespread use of bee-harming chemicals across the world. One establishment, that has been working to hard to do their part for bee Conservation is Fairmont Hotel and Resorts. The luxury hotel chain has started putting in “bee hotels” at 16 of its Canadian locations, providing wood, twigs, and soil in shelf-like compartments that give the bees both a food source and a nesting place.
It’s part of the resort’s work with Burt’s Bees Company and nonprofit Pollinator Partnership to bring more bee-friendly habitat to solitary bees, which make up 90 percent of all bee species and play an integral role in pollinating flowering plants in rural and urban areas. Fairmont are working to bring awareness to the problem bees and other pollinators are facing all over the world, and have created a map that shows where neonicotinoids—a class of insecticide implicated in bee die-offs—have been banned and where the pesticides are still in use.
According to the map, Europe is the most bee-friendly when it comes to pesticide use. Most countries there have banned many of the neonicotinoids, along with carbofuran and organophosphates—pesticides listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as highly toxic to bees. Recently, however, the UK suspended the ban on bee-killing pesticides. Most countries in Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America continue to use neonics, while the United States and Canada have begun phasing out bee-harming pesticides.