Hurricane Maria was the worst recorded natural disasters to ever hit the island of Puerto Rico. While many lives were lost and millions of dollars worth of property destroyed, something else barely anyone is talking about happened, and it has worldwide implications.
In addition to the human cost of the hurricane, a large population of honey bees was also killed, and weirdly enough, and some scientists are saying this could cause a disastrous butterfly effect that will affect the entire world.
1. Since Settlers Brought Bees To South America, Scientists Have Been Working To Make Them Better
European settlers brought honeybees to the Americas hundreds of years ago. At first, in South America, the honey bees had trouble surviving in the warmer climate. Since they first came overseas, scientists have been working on ways to improve the genetics of honeybees to create one that can live in such environments.
2. Killer Bees Escaped, Bred, And Spread
During the genetic modifications, the “killer bee” was created. This bee can withstand some of the challenges that original bees faced, such as a warmer climate and new diseases.
Unfortunately, these bees are also highly aggressive and are known to attack people in swarms. They broke out of their research facilities in Puerto Rico and spread all across South America, eventually making their way to Texas.
3. Once-Dangerous Bees Were Miraculously Evolving In Puerto Rico
After several decades of natural selection, evolution, research and bee breeding, scientists were able to ALMOST perfect a bee population, but for some unknown reason, only in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican bees were able to interact nicely with humans without stinging and attacking them.
The only problem is that they were still not as strong against certain mites as the killer bees had once been.
4. In 2005, Worker Bees Abandoned Their Colonies And Started Dying
For reasons still unknown to scientists and researchers, 2005 marked a decline in the worker bee populations all around the world. While fewer stingers out there might sound like good news to children, the decline in the bee population could ultimately prove fatal for humans, since honeybees are responsible for pollinating one-third of the food that we eat.
But during this decline, scientists found hope in the rapidly evolving Puerto Rican bees.