5. The Bees In Puerto Rico Can Help Fight Off Certain Honey Bee Threats
As time went on, new generations of bees made an “evolutionary leap.” Killer bees, for instance, became far less aggressive to humans. The nicer honeybees also showed an increased ability to fight off mites and other threats. Together they could make a “super bee” if scientists were given enough time to experiment with cross-breeding. Unfortunately, their time ran out.
6. Hurricane Maria Destroyed Puerto Rico
September 16th, 2017 marked the first day that Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. The storm was absolutely devastating, killing over 500 people and displacing thousands more. Also lost in the storm were decades of scientific research and progress on the bee problem.
Yet somehow, this wasn’t even the biggest loss for Puerto Rican scientists.
7. The Hurricane Also Wiped Out About 90 Percent Of The Bees
There were 150,000 bee colonies at the time the storm hit, and researchers estimate at least 80 percent of those colonies were wiped out, though the actual number is probably somewhere closer to 90 percent. Not only did the scientists lose the ability to continue the amazing progress they had made, but they also lost the bees they’d put so many years and so much effort into perfecting.
8. Focus And Energy Must Now Go To Saving The Remaining Bees
Some bees survived the storm, but they’re still dying off rapidly as they search frantically for what little food the storm left. Instead of continuing their research, the scientists now have to focus on keeping the bees alive and repopulating Puerto Rico. This sets them back dramatically when they were so much closer to resolving the world’s bee problem.