NEW CAMPAIGN BEGINNING OCTOBER 01, 2018
These gentle Puerto Rican bees may play an important role in the ongoing bee crisis because they are genetically distinct from known populations. As such, they’re less susceptible to the parasites and pathogens that have decimated European honey bees, which have low genetic diversity, and can continue the crucial agricultural process of pollination as those populations continue to decline.
In general, populations that lack genetic diversity are more vulnerable to threats — without a variety of genes to offer protection, the whole population becomes susceptible to the same pathogens. Traditional bee populations, in particular, are threatened by specific parasites and pathogens.
African bees, however, have managed to maintain their numbers because they share a gene that makes them highly resistant to varroa mite — a parasite that undermines the health of bees and spreads diseases.
While pesticides are believed to be a major reason honey bees have died around the world, varroa mites are thought to be a contributing factor as well. Because Puerto Rican bees are genetically different than European bees but still have their gentle demeanor, they could serve as a useful alternative for humans whose crops rely on varroa-resistant bees.
Genetically diverse gentle honeybees could help secure agricultural production by providing pollinators more resistant to threats such as parasites and diseases.
The Africanized Honeybees of Puerto Rico may well be our last chance to prevent global extinction of honeybees. Hurricane Maria devastated the bee population leaving many colonies starving to death. The need is critical.
80 percent of donations go directly to Puerto Rico conversation and local beekeeping sustainment programs.