For such a small creature, the dear old bumble bee holds an incredibly important role. Some might say (and rightly so) that the role of the bee is so important that we literally rely upon them for our very existence. But with the increased use of pesticides, introduction of non-native species and pests, such as mites, all contributing to their decline, it seems there is real cause for concern.
Here we list our top 5 reasons as to why you should be worried about the declining bee population!
5. Fancy a bouquet of flowers?
Nope. Sorry. If the bee population continues to decline, flowers won’t get pollinated. This means that all those pretty flowers you like to buy your sweetheart will be non-existent, or incredibly expensive if growers have to self-pollinate.
The vast majority of flowers rely on bees to help them pollinate and grow into the pretty creations we all enjoy. Guess that means you should learn how to make tissue paper flowers instead then…
4. So you like natural remedies?
The honey that we get from bees is arguably one of the best natural remedies around. Whether you eat a spoonful for a sore throat or use it to make a salve for chapped skin, honey is something any budding natural healer would miss! As many will know from their natural science lessons in primary school, the bee collects pollen from various flowers and then takes it back to the hive to make honey.
But if you don’t have enough bees in a hive, then they’re not going to make enough honey!
3. Tasty Food!
Yup. Bees are responsible for that too! Well, most of the time anyway. Many of your favourite fruits and vegetables rely on the bees pollinating their flowers to produce delicious tasting food. Not only that, but each flower often has to be visited many times by different bees to get optimum results!
Sure you might get some fruits regardless, but they’ll taste of nothing. How nice! Strawberries, tomatoes and peas that taste of air – Yum!
2. Who wants to pay £100 for a loaf of bread then?
That’s no joke. The cost of food could (and most probably will) dramatically increase if bees are unable to pollinate the crops for farmers, meaning they have to do this laborious task themselves. At the moment bees are a major driving force behind the farming industry, they provide free labour and produce high yields of food.
But if they died out completely, farmers would need to hire more workers and probably need to buy specialist equipment to help them self-pollinate their crops. This will naturally lead to them having to increase food prices. Still think bees aren’t that important?
1. So you like a healthy, varied diet do you? Oh and you like to buy local?
If bees died out, we would either have to self-pollinate crops or lose entire species of fruits, vegetables and grains altogether. Naturally the latter is a very probable option since we simply wouldn’t have the man-power, nor hours to self-pollinate every crop. This would leave us with very few foods that don’t rely on bees such as corn, pineapples and bananas.
Of course depending on where you live in the world, these foods would need to be shipped to you, which in itself will increase prices as demands also increase. We couldn’t feed livestock either, since they rely largely on grass-feed, that, guess what, also needs bees for pollination. What a glum world that would be!
You can help prevent this from happening. Get out in the garden, plant “bee-friendly” flowers and stop using pesticides, instead have a go at companion planting instead. And support organic farmers! Save our bees!