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Does the punishment fit the crime?

| April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

Two children – one a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old – were arrested and charged in January 2018 for killing more than half a million bees at a honey production business called Wild Hill Honey in Sioux City, Iowa, in the US. The bees froze to death.

The two boys also smashed sheds and destroyed farm equipment. They face charges of criminal mischief, agricultural animal facilities offences and burglary. They could end up paying US$10 000 each or spending up to 10 years in prison.

Fifty years ago, wilfully killing bees might have been viewed as a mischievous prank. Today, however, the informed among us know the consequences of harming bees may be globally deadly, because bee colonies around the world are disappearing.

Scientific evidence points to environmental stress, such as parasitic attacks that weaken bees’ immune systems, pesticides or severe habitat loss.

When a bee colony is under threat, young inexperienced bees are sent out to forage. Their youth is likely to cause “first flight demise”, reports UK newspaper The Independent. When only older bees are left in the hive, it soon collapses. The Independent cites a study that colony collapse disorder has caused a 30% average annual loss of honey bees in North America alone over the last decade. A key feature of the disorder is the complete disappearance of worker bees, leaving the hive largely permanently empty of adult bees.

The website warns that if colony collapse disorder in the US continues at the current rate, managed honey bees will disappear by 2035. Says writer Kimberley Amadeo, “The Western honey bee is the world’s premier managed pollinator species. Bee pollination is worth US$15 billion to the US farming industry.”

As hives and colonies vanish, so beekeepers are forced to charge more to replace hives when they collapse. The high costs of repeated replacement costs are passed on to crop growers, many of whom continue to spray their crops such as corn with toxic pesticides. Amadeo observes: “Colony collapse disorder also affects the beef and dairy industries. Bees pollinate clover, hay and other forage crops. As they die off, it raises the cost of feedstock. That increases beef and milk prices at the grocery store and leads to increased imports of produce from foreign countries.


Category: Autumn 2018

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News posts added for Independent Education by Global Latitude DMA

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