Why are Honey bees crucial for Human Existence?
Honeybees have been declared the most important living being on the planet. Even before this declaration, it was Albert Einstein who understood the importance of bees. He quoted,
If the bees disappear, humans will have four years to live!
So much importance, still the bees have joined the list of endangered species. People are yet to gain awareness of the importance of honey bees in human life and the ecosystem.
Honey is not the only contribution from honey bees to the human species. 70% of world agriculture depends exclusively on bees. The process of pollination done by the bees contributes to the growth of vegetables, fruits, nuts and coffees. Let us understand cross-pollination to know the role of honeybees in agriculture.
Cross-Pollination is a crucial offering by honey bees to mankind!
When a bee collects nectar from a flower or plant, some pollen from the male reproductive organs of the flower sticks to the body. When the bee visits the next flower, some of that pollen rubs off on the female reproductive organ of that flower. This process is called Cross-pollination. Vegetables like carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, onion, pumpkin, radishes and many more grow through cross-pollination. Many fruits like citrus, apples, cherries, pears and gooseberries need the same process.
Nuts like cashew and almond also need to go through this process. The absence of bees can adversely impact the yield of these fruits, vegetables and nuts. As a result, we will slowly run out of these food items for consumption. Manual pollination is a possibility, but that comes with a cost and consumes tremendous time. Cross-pollination is necessary to grow some of the most basic foods humans consume. Honeybees are one of the biggest catalysts in this process.
Why are honeybees becoming an endangered species?
Reduction in the number of bees will directly impact the basic food supplies. It is important to dive deeper into this issue and find implementable solutions. Uncontrolled use of pesticides, deforestation and climate change are some of the main reasons for declination in the number of honey bees.
Use of Pesticides
The presence of pesticides impacts the bee's ability to navigate and reproduce. Pesticides are curated to kill unwanted pests. However, the toxic particles present also end up harming the honey bees. Neonicotinoids are specifically harmful to bees. It directly affects their central nervous system and hinders the execution of basic tasks like feeding, homing and reproducing.
Intensive development has led to the loss of green lands and flowers. The lack of pollination-friendly land deprives honeybees of diverse food sources. If a group of honeybees cannot find enough vegetation near the hive, it will begin its search for a more suitable site. Extreme deforestation also results in the reduction of nesting areas for the bees.
The temperature around the bees decides when they will move in a specific direction. So the weather determines the flying time of a colony of honeybees. Sudden and unexpected changes in temperature prompt them to move in different directions at an unpredicted time. It might cause harm to their well-being. They may face unforeseen threats from nature, other organisms and floral resources.
The consideration of these three aspects is crucial for preserving this endangered species. Now the question is, how can we contribute to this severe issue and help the planet?
What can you do to save the bees?
Morgan Freeman, a Hollywood actor, has transformed his 124-acre land in The United States into a bee sanctuary to protect the species. Govt. of India has approved a National Beekeeping and Honey Mission for the overall promotion, development of beekeeping and production of quality honey.
If you have the space, maintaining gardens and growing local flowers can also support the bees in the surrounding area. Also, if you see a bee hive nearby, do not get rid of it with the help of pesticides. Instead, take help from a local community to remove the beehive without harming the bees. Also, choose to buy organic products that promote organic farming. The harm caused to bees by pesticides will reduce when the farmers understand the importance of using organic substances.
Honeybees are a crucial part of the ecosystem!
It is necessary to share this awareness about the importance of honeybees. Most people feel that honey is the only resource we gain from honeybees. However, they largely support our existence through pollination too. Also, beeswax wraps, bee venom, bee pollen, and bee bread are some of the products derived from honeybees.
It is essential to maintain this species if humans want to survive happily and healthily.
brinda shah is a freelance content writer. she is a ca turned into a writer who loves to read, write & meditate. you can connect with her on linkedin and on instagram