The bee population is in rapid decline. Beekeepers in the U.S. lost an average of 42.1 percent of their hives in the span of a year, including an unusually high spike in the death of bees during the summer. This is known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
The decline in the bee population could have dire effect on humankind. Since bees play the most vital role in our ability to cultivate fruits and vegetables, losing them would have tremendous economical and ecological consequences.
Why are so many honeybees dying?
The main cause behind the declining bee population is a type of parasite known as varroa mites. These parasites will latch onto the bees and suck them dry of their fluids. In turn, this weakens the bees due to the spread of a deadly disease.
Beekeepers have used powdered sugar and fumigants to stop these parasites, but they have not been successful.
However, there is a possible solution to saving the bees from extinction.
The solution is beer.
Specifically, a substance found in beer called potassium salts of hops beta acids (HBAs) might be what the bees need. A 2012 study found that spraying just 1 percent of HBA pesticide on bees resulted in the 100 percent death of the parasites, leaving the bees unscathed.
Because they are scientifically proven to repel bees, the EPA has just approved the immediate use of HBAs around honeycombs.
"There is a long history of safe use of HBAs via the oral and dietary exposure to humans from its use as a preservative on meats and its presence in the beer brewing process," the EPA wrote.
Hopefully, the HBAs will save the bees, and in turn, save humanity. And if it works, it's all thanks to beer.
(H/T: Think Progress)