Bees are a key determinant of our lifestyle and diet which, however, remains unrecognized by many. If one day bees significantly decline or go extinct, this will have a drastic impact on the economy, our relationships, people’s lifestyle and diet, whether we want it or not.
Quite often the first thing that comes to mind when one hears the word bee, is honey. Nice, tasty, healthy and sweet honey. But do we truly realize what an essential role bees play in our existence?
Apart from giving us an opportunity to consume a quality product, bees are among the major pollinators of about half of the plant species on the planet. A world without bees is literally a world without fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. And the lack of honey would be the least of humanity’s problems.
We have all heard the quote of the famous scientist Albert Einstein, which states that if bees disappeared from the Earth, humanity would last no more than 4 years. One third of the food that humans consume is pollinated by insects, 80% of which are bees. If bees went extinct, there would be no yields, no harvest, and the production will be of very poor quality.
Nature has set up a connection between plans and bees with a purpose. Plants bear beautiful, colorful flowers to attract bees which feed on pollen and nectar. They pollinate the male and female flowers and that seemingly simple mechanism brings to life all the delicious cherries, apples, pears, etc.
If bees went extinct, we would have to part with our favorite coffee, tea, nuts, fruits, vegetables, etc. We should also forget about cotton that constitutes 35% of the textile industry.
Besides the obvious connection "no bees - no fruit", there are other indirect but substantial implications along the chain. If there were no bees, plants would not bear fruit, a lot of animals would disappear because there would be nothing to eat. That would influence our diet, not only in terms of vegetarianism, which in turn would restructure relationships and the economy.
Scientists and experts have calculated that an artificial pollination would cost the global agricultural produce about 155 billion dollars a year. The lack of honey would not be a big issue compared to all the losses in agriculture.
Over the past 3 - 4 years, the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been registered in an increasing number of places worldwide. The UN expresses its concern over the huge decline in bee colonies.
The first cases of Colony Collapse Disorder were recorded in 2006, and over time the percentage of affected bee colonies has been increasing. In some places, the losses reach up to 80% of the bee colonies.
Unfortunately, scientists have not been able to identify the reasons for the sinister phenomenon. There are a number of hypotheses, but none has been proven categorically. Some of them refer to a deadly collapse in the immune system of bees - something like AIDS, other theories explain the phenomenon as a result of the global warming, the widespread use of pesticides and GMOs, the adverse impact of wireless networks and mobile connections.
In order to avoid unintentional misleading, we should specify that bees are not in danger of extinction as a species, but their ability to pollinate and meet the needs of human beings progressively decreases due to the appreciable reduction in bee colonies. To date, it is people who have a problem, not bees.
Bees play a huge role in pollination and biodiversity conservation. For the beekeepers and farmers who have crops that reproduce themselves through pollination, bees are of key importance. Beekeepers receive bee pollen and honey, and farmers – rich and potent crops.
Beekeeping is the only job in which after work you do not wash your hands, but lick them. Another advantage of raising bees is that their feed is not your concern.
However, with the ever increasing losses suffered by beekeepers, a lot of them will give up their sweet occupation and thus the bee population will keep decreasing.
Of course, there are other natural pollinators such as butterflies, flies, some birds, and the wind, but they are quite insufficient to provide the diverse food in your refrigerator.