Sustainability Systems 10- Review

In this session, we presented our information as a group. We had chosen the topic declining bee population. We researched about:

  • the aim/objective
  • areas of concern
  • existing proposals/recommendations
  • suggested ways of redressal- Minimum 3 ways

We divided the above research work as a group and later compiled it up into one document.

Pollinators are key in the functioning of almost all terrestrial ecosystems including those that are dominated by agriculture since they are the forefront of sustainable productivity through plant reproduction.

An estimation of 35% of crop production depends on insect pollination world wide (Klein et al., 2007). Bees are considered a priority group among the pollinator groups.

The estimations of the (FAO) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations are that out of approximately 100 species of crops, which 90% of food is supplied by for 146 countries, 71 are pollinated by bees. In India, honeybees are valued for their honey and wax but very underappreciated for pollination.

The decline in bee pollinators is becoming a very serious reality. Many reports show that many pollinator populations have dwindled to rates that cannot sustain their pollination services.

Contrasting the western countries, Indian crops that are mostly pollinated by wild honeybees and non – Apis pollinators. According to Gallai et al., 2009, in the last 25 years, more than 40% of honey bees have been disappeared India.

According to researchers, investigations show that radio frequency radiation (RFR) emitted by mobile phones and towers are causing a disturbance.

An expert in zoology from S.N College Punalur states that towers that emit electromagnetic waves hinder the navigation of worker bees that set out to collect nectar

While conducting an experiment, Dr. Sainuddin Pakattazhy kept a cell phone near a bee hive and notices that bees were loosing their way, which left only the queen bee and the eggs in the hive. Within 10 days, these colonies would collapse. This started to be know as ‘Colony Collapse Disorder’ (CCD).

Dr. Pakattazhy’s findings have now given a new view on the population decline, as apposed to previous findings that blamed attack from viruses, pesticides and fungi.

Scientists in India fear that honeybees that are populated in areas that are dense in mobile towers could wipe them out in the next few years.

A 60% decrease in the population of honeybees has been documented in Kerala. These implications are frightening because most of the worlds crops depend on pollination and the demand for these crops has tripled over the last 50 years. Disappearance of honeybees could alter the lives of the human population at an alarming rate.

 The objective of this extensive research is to understand how one can intervene through designing a solution on a smaller scale. The objective of our research was to understand one of the many causes of the decline of bees in India, and we have chosen to focus on Radio Frequency Radiation leading to Colony Collapse Disorder.




Bihar is one of the dominant honey producing state in which commercial beekeepers adopt migratory beekeeping mainly for litchi and Karanju honeysCrops benefited by bee pollination in India In India, most of the food crops need insect (Mainly bee) pollinators for sufficient successful pollination
Oil seeds:
• Sunflower
• Niger
• Safflower

• Cucurbitaceous Vegetable Crops
• Legume crops
• Fruit crops

Reasons for decline
• There is a drastic decline in honeybee populations because of colony collapse disorder in some parts of the world which led concern over pollination shortfalls.
• A lethal combination of climate change and human interference is helping to wipe out colonies of the giant honeybees on which many plants and trees in India depend for their survival.
• The lower the pesticide use on land, the higher the diversity of bees
• Bees which are exposed to pesticide stress lost their sense of smell due to warping of their antennae – and so were unable to return to their hives, which contributes, again, both to their eventual starvation and to the collapse of the hive at large
• Tourism that is prompting development in once natural areas, has led to a collapse in the numbers of bees, which scientists say help to pollinate 18% of 86 tree species and 22% of the shrubs in Nilgiris southern India which always have been known for its giant rock bees, which form honeycombs on cliff tops and in tree canopies.


  •  Bee Basket- Amit Godse, Pune

Honey bees are extremely useful insects in nature since they help in preserving biodiversity by providing most important service called ‘Pollination’. Among total pollination done through the agency of insects (i.e. Entomophily), approximately 70 to 80% pollination is achieved with the help of bees only.

Various reasons have contributed to a decline in bee population. Some of the reasons are cutting of flowering trees on large scale in cities, diminishing forest belts, destroying bee hives (bee nests) out of ignorance and fear by using fire or pest control, destroying bee hives while extracting honey by using unscientific methods, building tall mobile phone towers that emit powerful electromagnetic waves, using hazardous chemical insecticides, pesticides, weedicides in farms, drastic climate changes, etc.

As a solution to this problem, it is required to spread awareness among people about important role of honeybees in nature and its uses to human beings.

We at Bee Basket works for protection and conservation of honey bees. We provide bee hive relocation services and thus save the unwanted hives. Since we are based in Pune city of Maharashtra state, mainly we save bees across Pune and Mumbai cities from mass destruction.

  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development

ICIMOD introduced a programme based on conservation apiculture, which focused on improving the productivity of the Asian hive bee through the process of selection and multiplication.

Farmers and beekeepers receive economic and social incentives to participate in the selection and multiplication activities. The communities have clearly benefited from this programme: at one of the project sites in Nepal, the number of farmers and beekeepers in the project has increased, and the selected bee colonies produce more honey. The Indian butter tree forest also benefited from this programme as social fencing provided by local beekeeping communities discouraged irresponsible logging of this important bee tree.

  • Biological Conservation in May 2017

The Union and state governments are promoting non-indigenous bees, mostly Apis mellifera, a Western European bee popular for its high honey production and for being less inclined towards swarming.

The organisation works mainly by attempting to work with Adivasi communities to shift from honey hunting, which is destructive, to beekeeping.

Before starting to work in an area, Krishnamoorthy said, they conduct surveys of the kinds of bees in the area, and then help farmers transfer local populations into their bee boxes before training them for up to a year on how to maintain them.

  • We practice our own way of beekeeping. Based on climatic and seasonal changes, we change our beekeeping practices.

Our bee boxes are designed based on bee floral availability and climatic conditions. These bee hives are completely different from regular 10 frame bee hive boxes practiced in India. We found that 7 frame bee boxes are best suitable for our climatic conditions and use only 7 frame bee hive boxes. We use super chamber in beekeeping. Super chamber beekeeping is not followed by most of the beekeepers in India.


Infographic ideas- • is the most efficient and sure fire way to save the world’s bee population and the food system they support.

• The Greenpeace report—titled “Plan Bee–Living without Pesticides: Moving Towards Ecological Farming” shows that the implementation of “ecological farming is feasible and in fact the only solution to the ever increasing problems associated with industrial agriculture” that is destroying both natural systems and proven, non-toxic farming practices.

• Ecological farming does not rely on the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and herbicides and, thereby, safeguards bees from toxic effects of these agrochemicals.” Things which could be done personally by global citizens

• Buy regional and organic food, avoid pesticides in your garden, plant bee-friendly organic flowers.

• Plant a diverse array of flowers in a multiplicity of locations. We need flowers in urban and rural environments. This will help ensure the health of bees and our crops.

• Start a flowering garden. Even if it’s a window box outside of your tiny city apartment, the bees will thank you.

• Plant native flower species. Choose a variety that bloom throughout the whole season, that’ll bloom early spring into fall, or plant a variety so that the garden is never not blooming.
Proposals involving design-

  1. Posters/infographics – tourists, public places • Videos – local personalised awareness (people manipulation attract more crowd than posters)• Social media campaigning – digitally spreading awareness (quickest way of spreading the word, speaking to the Youth on their level) – Challenge Videos/ Viral tweets/ Hashtags
  2. Tv/YouTube/Radio/Newspaper ads- quick supply of bits of information, inevitable while watching other stuff (plays on the mind subconsciously)
  3. Marketing strategy – create an association with a flowering seeds vendor, and have a planting seeds workshop around the city.

We discussed our findings with our faculty. She said that for the next five weeks we would be working on creating a campaign/ proposal to address the issue of decline in bee population.


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