Could you imagine a world where some of your favorite fruits, vegetables, and crops are scarce and more expensive than ever? Plants, trees and a variety of flowers no longer decorate open spaces. Environmental and agriculture problems are through the roof because the ever present bee declination problem was never given the attention it needed. If this is a future you can live with, it would not be a realistic one. Living in a world without bees would not only be extremely difficult but also filled with environmental complications. That’s why the dwindling numbers in the population of bees is not something to take lightly but rather it is an urgent call for action.
On a day to day basis we go about our lives without noticing what goes on beyond our busy schedules. But once in a while when we look up from our phones and all the distractions and take a look at nature to notice the flowers, trees, and a catch on to things not noticed before. For instance, you’d notice that the chances of coming across bees are much more uncommon than they were before. Bees although small play a very big role in the world’s ecosystems. Aside from the fact that they provide honey, bees are amongst the most important pollinators in the world. Although not the only ones, Bees are “important global pollinators of crops and native plants” (Tosi, et al.). They help a vast majority of crops grow by the pollination process in which bees transfer pollen from flower to flower, tree to tree, plant to plant in order to help their reproduction. Bees help the growth of many plants such as almonds, tomatoes, apples, cherries, coffee, mangoes amongst many others need their pollen in order to grow and fully develop (Milius). The almond industry on it’s own is very dependent on bees and their services. Bee’s bring in a lot of revenue for the economy the almond industry alone makes about $2 billion a year according to an article written by Susan Milius. So losing bees wouldn’t only negatively impact the earth but would be a blow to the economy. Bees may also also used as advisers when it comes to the environment. Since bees are “highly susceptible” to what may be harmful in the air they could be used as warning signals to what must be changed (Bromenshenk). Vegetables and fruits aren’t the only ones that benefit from bees they also help other animals and insects within this process. They help the growth of crops such as hay; a prime component in many animal’s diet (Klein, et al). Bees give the plants what they need in order to grow and allow the blooming of flowers that grow to be the vegetables and fruits that are consumed on a day to day basis. Many of these factors are very important without one or the other there would be a noticeable imbalance in ecosystems (Klein, et al). In hindsight Bees are one of the biggest providers of food and plants “because they are manageable” and they can be transferred from location to location although that may not be common knowledge to many.
Perhaps that’s the reason why the steady decline of bees from all over the world has gotten little attention other than from those that study them closely up until recently. In the latest years the problem has worsen and bees are disappearing at a faster rate and “… has therefore raised concerned about ecological impacts, crop production, food security, and human welfare” ( Tosi, et al). As a result of this studies have been conducted to get to the bottom of this growing problem and have found that common pesticides used on crops could be at fault. Studies have shown that Neonicotinoids are insecticides used among plants and crops to keep insects away. However they have the ability to get into plant’s pollen and nectar that bees ingest thus causing them negative side effects (Tosi, et al). Certain Neonicontinoids have been proven to impair a bees ability to fly and or navigate. This is a big inconvenience because fly is essential for bees in order to collect food and water for their colony (Tosi, et al). Studies have been conducted in where bees are put into control groups to test the consequences of certain Neonicotinoids that are being used. More specifically one study was conducted with a Neonicoitinoids by the name of thiamexotham (TMX) and proved that when daily dosages are consumed they can decrease a bees fly distance, velocity, and lead to a decline in their overall foraging area (Tosi, et al). Meaning since their flight distance and navigation is affected they are not pollinating or reaching as many flowers, crops, etc as they normally can. Results show that bees are actually attracted to these certain pesticides making them more likely to eat them. Unfortunately queen bees are also being affected by this and that’s another problem because they play a major role in the reproduction of bees. When Queen bees consume contaminated food they run the risk of it affecting their abilities to create new worker and queen bees. This raises serious concerns because colonies are formed by Queen bees and if this role isn’t being fulfilled then the risk of future colonies forming is in danger. Research states that, “… queens may also develop serious problems when exposed to pesticides: damage to ovarian tissues, high mortality, and workers’ rejection as well as difficulties with emerging mating, and laying eggs” (Dos Santos, et al). Some bees showed signs of taking longer to develop Queen characteristics if not, any at all. They also run the risk of memory loss and this is harmful because it increases their chances of being unable to return back to their hive. Bee’s all have a certain role to take on and if any of them are not met it can compromise the whole dynamic within the colony. Although this particular study seemed to mainly affect stingless bees, bumblebees and honeybees are not counted out of this entirely (Dos Santos, et al). Pesticides and insecticides needed to ward off damaging insects are proven to be even more harmful to bees in the long run. So the question of; “is it really worth it?” must be raised.
Beekeepers play a very important role in the lives of bees as they keep an eye on them and try to keep track of their behaviors as well. Recently beekeeping has became much more costly and this too can prove to be dangerous for bees. Considering that bee keepers move bees from location to location when the landscape no longer provides the necessary supplies for them to prosper and fulfill their role of pollinators (Bromenshenk). Jerry Btomenshenk mentioned in an article she wrote that, in certain areas the survival of bees is solely dependent on bee keepers and thats why they too play an important role in the survival of bees. The lack of flowering crops also poses a threat for bees. Bees get nectar from flowers and without flowering crops they have no where to get food from hindering their ability to pollinate the crops necessary. Unfortunately bee keepers cannot all do all the work on their own that’s why the help of almond growers could be vital for the survival of bees. Their help can allow others to conduct proper research and they were advised to do things such as avoid pesticides when bees are out foraging and should be avoided when there is still pollen. (Almond Growers). Also, if they suspected any pesticide related incidents they must file a report as well as let the bee keepers know (Almond Growers). That is precisely why certain pesticides can no longer be use in the presence of bees and why studies need to be conducted in order to stop further damage. In actuality this shows that keeping bees safe is an effort all parties involve must make. Bees are an essential part of not just nature but human life and that’s why their importance must never be taken for granted or overlooked.
Many believe that pesticides are the only problem that bees encounter and believe they can’t do anything about it because it’s not up to them. Being one of the biggest misconceptions that in return leads to neglecting the problem at hand. Even though there are a couple of at home resolutions that can be done in order to help the bees as well. Bee friendly flower, plants, and trees can be planted in front and back yards for them to feed off of (Nick). Some bee friendly flowers may include, Lavender, Thyme, Bellflower, Rosemary, and mint amongst may others. Doing research on which flowers to plant won’t take long but the beneficiaries that bees will receive from such actions will last more than the time it took. Keep in mind that there still must be caution when purchasing flowers because some have been found to still be harmful to bees. That’s why research is important and necessary to avoid this purchasing flowers from “local growers who don’t use synthetic chemicals” may be best (Nick). Simply planting bee friendly flowers may seem small but it definitely is a huge help. If everyone were to plant a couple of them in their yard that would equal to many more in total. Expanding a bees food source is not only beneficial for them but also to humans and other animals. When bees are healthy and can go on and about their routine without facing any life-threatening toxins they pollinate and provide the plants and crops that are needed. Without realizing it humans work side by sides with bees it takes efforts from both parties to keep the Earth and everything it provides running.
Bees all forms and sizes are significant for ecosystems all over the world. Not one bee is more important than the other as they all have specific tasks in each of their settings. Not only do they unselfishly provide a majority of our food without asking for much in return; but they also paint our streets, our homes, and our hills. They paint them with the beautiful flowers, trees, and plants seen all around that they help grow and nourish when they visit. Bees pull their weight around here and it’s about time we start pulling ours too. A world without bees would not only be difficult but it’d be very bland and grey. That leads to question, if a world without bees is really one that’s even livable? Unless you can tolerate food scarcity and or environmental problems along with colorless streets then the clear and obvious answer should be, no.
1.”Almond Growers to Play Critical Role in Solving Bee Loss Puzzle.” Western Farm Press Exclusive Insight, 31 Mar. 2016, p. 1. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=fsr&AN=114157931&site=ehost-live.
2.Bromenshenk, Jerry J. “Yet Another Job for Busy Bees.” Sciences, vol. 18, no. 6, Jul/Aug78, p.
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5.Milius, Susan. “Backup Bees: Luring and Taming Wild Pollinators for Help on the Farm.”
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6.Nick, Jean. “Bee Aware.” Organic Gardening, vol. 61, no. 2, Feb/Mar2014, p. 73. EBSCOhost,
chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx? direct=true&db=a9h&AN=93615249&site=ehost-live. 1 May 2017.
7.Tosi, Simone, et al. “A Common Neonicotinoid Pesticide, Thiamethoxam, Impairs Honey Bee Flight Ability.” Scientific Reports 7, Article Number: 1201, 26 April 2017. doi:10.1038/
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