The first thing people think of when they think of bees, is how annoying they are. They buzz around and when you get to close to one, it stings you. Some even believe that the declining bee population is a good thing. However, what many people fail to realize is how vital bees are to our existence.
Bees are pollinators, which means they transfer pollen from flower to flower, allowing it to sprout a new fruit or seed. About one-third of all our food has been pollinated by bees. In 2010, the bees were pollinating an estimated $19 billion worth of agricultural products. Imagine the foods that you have eaten recently, chances are you would not have been able to eat those meals without the help of bees. Foods such as: broccoli, apples, asparagus, almonds, cantaloupes, pumpkins, cucumbers, blueberries, cranberries, watermelons, and cherries are available because of the bees’ pollination. Bees fly plant to plant and pollinate each of them, usually focusing on one species at a time. The pollination of a plant is synonymous with the reproduction of a plant. The pollination from bees makes up one third of the food staples in the U.S.
Nevertheless, the use of pesticides has started to greatly affect these very crucial pollinators. Pesticides such as neonicotinoids have been studied and proven to contribute to the collapse of bee hives. Although neonicotinoids are not the direct cause for hives collapsing, they do play a prominent role. Neonicotinoids lead to a large decline in queen bees, therefore interfering with the ability of the other bees to make their way back to their hives.
Bees are one of the most important insects on the planet. Even though you might see them as pests, they play a crucial role as sustainers of the crops we eat. Their population is declining at a rapid rate, and they are getting closer and closer to extinction. More than 30% of bee hives have been lost annually for the past decade. Just this week, seven bee species have been marked as endangered. If the number of bees keeps decreasing, so will our food supply. Although bees are not the only pollinators on our planet, they impact a huge portion of our crops and agriculture. The loss of bees has already affected the Californian almond orchards. These orchards require lots of pollination for the state’s largest agricultural export, requiring around 1.6 million bee colonies. Other than agricultural products, they pollinate plenty of flowers and plants that also are home to other creatures. Without the bees help, we would be struggling to grow our crops and lose agricultural revenue as well as the beautiful plants that thrive with bees’ pollination.
So how can we help the bees? According to an article by CNN, there are 5 ways we can help bees survive, including planting, reducing, and donating. Planting more vegetation will increase the number of bees due to the increased need for pollination. When planting, it is important to think about which plants will have the most beneficial effect by choosing plants that require pollination year round. As for reducing, CNN says that reducing or limiting the pesticides used when flowers are in bloom and bees are pollinating can have a great effect on the bee population. Essentially, be careful when using pesticides because they will most likely harm the pollinators in that area. Finally, donating to nonprofits is also an effective way to help with the survival of the bees. However, there is so much more that can be done on a daily basis. You can prevent unnecessary killings of bees and inform others about this important environmental issue.
Sources: http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/04/living/iyw-5-ways-to-help-bees/ https://www.fws.gov/pollinators/pollinatorpages/yourhelp.html#garden http://e360.yale.edu/feature/declining_bee_populations_pose_a_threat_to_global_agr culture/2645/ http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/why-bees-are-important-to-our-planet/