A lot of people today are talking about honey bees – and what will happen if their numbers continue to decline. But why is one species of such critical importance to us all?
They Allow Us to Grow Fruits and Vegetables
Almost all of the reasons why bees matter so much today come back to the fact that they are one of the world’s biggest pollinators. With over a third of the world’s plants only able to grow through natural pollination, honeybees are essential to sustaining many of our biggest food sources.
This is particularly true for fruit, vegetables and nuts – with approximately 80% of US crops estimated to rely on honeybee pollination. Similar statistics suggest that, without bees and other pollinators, we would not be able to grow one in every three bites of food. So it’s no surprise that losing bees would change the face of the food we eat today.
They’re Essential for Maintaining Trees and Crops
Honey bees don’t just pollinate fruit and veg – they also help many different species of trees to grow, from tropical forests to savannah woodlands. Bees also pollinate practical crops including flax and cotton, which allow us to create essential fabrics and other common materials.
They’re Part of the Food Chain
Bees don’t just feed us – they’re also prey for over 25 different species, including blackbirds, hummingbirds, spiders and dragonflies. Without bees, many of those creatures would lose an essential part of their diet, and they – and the ecosystems that rely on them – would also suffer.
They Impact The Economy
There are commercial industries tied to almost all of the crops directly impacted by honeybee pollination, as well as those affected by the other plants and wildlife they sustain. Without those crops, much of the income generated by exported foods and materials would be lost, and countries which rely on them for income would take a financial hit.
You Can Help
Our bee population is falling because the plants they typically rely on for food are dying out, or blooming at different times due to temperature changes. Taking steps to help protect against climate change can help to slow that process – from being aware of how much energy you use, to cutting down on non-recyclable waste, and supporting companies with sustainable environmental practices.
You can also help closer to home, by planting bee-friendly flowers in your garden all year round, to make sure that these incredible creatures will always have a source of food to rely on.