By: Francesca S.
Bees are everywhere, and not just in summer. Many things around us have been made possible thanks to them, in fact they pollinate a third of our food and make life sustainable in many ecosystems. The importance of bees should not be underestimated – monetarily, the dollar value of plants pollinated by them each year is around 265 billion dollars! Even the ancient Egyptians transported their beehives along the Nile River so as to pollinate crops and fill a pharaoh’s tomb with honey to sweeten the afterlife.
Bees pollinate flowers, meaning that as they need flowers for food, the flower needs the bees to reproduce. This way, bees have evolved to survive and let other plants flourish. The bee is attracted to a flower, and as it rests on it, it collects pollen and brings it from one flower to the next, and feeds itself by collecting the flower’s nectar. When many bees come back to the beehive each with their nectar, they work together to make it become honey. The amounts are not humanly comparable; it takes at least eight bees all their life to make one single teaspoonful of honey.
Yet, from 2006, there has been an exceptional decline in the number of bees, which is a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder. Many factors have been identified, such as mites, viruses and parasites, all killing the bees or weakening them since birth. Still, these factors are natural, and can’t be held too accountable for such a drastic decrease in the bee population of the last years. It is most likely that the reason for this massive colonial collapse of bee is due to new insecticides that are being used that cause intoxication, more specifically, the chemicals found affect bees’ nervous systems. Bees can then suffer from convulsions, paralysis, disorientation and even immediate death. These insecticides are widely sold, making up 24% of the global market of insecticides. When this is being sprayed over the vast majorities of vegetables, grains, nuts, and fruits, bees who reach the flower to help its reproduction come in contact with it, and can even bring it inside a beehive, where it can kill a whole colony.
If all bees were to disappear or die, crops wouldn’t last long after, and so wouldn’t humans, as we depend on those crops for our diets. The direct impact bees have on our life and the sustainability, should lead us to protect these animals, and not use chemicals that harm them, yet the money that revolve around this issue is of a great amount. Further than food, cotton and the paper we use would be hard to make without bees making it possible. So, be aware of the consequences a world without bees has, and if you ever see a bee struggling to fly in your backyard, give it some sugared-water, so it can fly and help food get to your table!