Emma Smith Explores The Critical Role Bees Have For The Well-being Of Our Ecosystems. Would The World Really Stop Without Bees?
Photo by Damien Tupinier
It’s almost inconceivable to think that life-as-we-know-it would severely deteriorate if bees were to disappear. Although these black and yellow furry insects might not seem extraordinary at first glance, their place within the ecosystem is highly valuable. The sight of a bee should be welcomed, even more so now, as they are reported to have recently entered into extinction risk.
Last year the Earthwatch Institute determined that the bee is the most important living being on the planet.
Bees possess many unique benefits that keep our environment functioning. Studies have determined that bees are the only living creature that does not carry pathogens, making it impossible for them to spread viruses and disease.
The agriculture industry depends on 70% of these insects. If it weren’t for bee pollen, farmers would not profit. Bees transfer their pollen between flowering plants, which allow them to reproduce and grow as food for animals to feed on, keeping the food chain ticking. The services that bees and other pollinators provide is worth £691 million a year in the UK, regarding the value of the crops harvested. If bees were to die out, hundreds of thousands of jobs and livelihoods would vanish.
The honey that bees produce is not only sweet and delicious, but also harbour many health benefits. Raw honey can:
· Improve healthy weight management
· Counter the effects of allergies
· Be a natural source of energy
· Heal wounds
*Honey should be sourced responsibly and bee farming can have a detrimental affect on bees and quality of life.
Albert Einstein said that if bees were to disappear, humans would have four years to live.
These important insects are disappearing due to humanity’s interference in nature. The main reasons being mass deforestation, lack of safe places for nests and flowers and uncontrolled pesticides. In Columbia the fumigation of crops has been responsible for 34% of bee deaths over the last three years. It was found that these bees with agro-toxins died of poisoning. Furthermore, due to the ever-expanding construction and development industry, bees are losing their habitats.
A theory put forward by The Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland, claims that the waves caused by mobile technology could partly be to blame for the disappearance of bees. Researcher and biologist Daniel Favre conducted 83 experiments that showed, bees in the presence of mobile waves produced a noise 10 times higher than usual; this behavior makes it known to other bees that they are in danger. The waves make the bees disorientated and ultimately lose their sense of direction.
Did you know? Bees pollinate up to 80% of wildflowers in Europe.
Despite what pesticide companies promote, there are serious health risks attached to the use of these harmful chemicals. The aim of agro-ecology is for agro-ecosystems to mimic how the environment would function naturally; there is no ‘waste’, so everything can be recycled. This means that all-natural processes will control pests. However, there is very little public funding behind it but the recognition of agro-ecology is slowly growing.
To make human food production safe and preserve wild habitats, ecological farming must be mandatory. We must completely stop the use of all toxic pesticides and promote natural agriculture alternatives. As individuals we can all contribute by planting wildflowers, trees and shrubs. Building a bee bath or wildlife pond in your garden, and eating organic produce.