Bees are no strangers to most of usThey produce delicious honey and beeswax, a substance widely used in a variety of products, from candles to skincare products. It might surprise you, however, that a significant proportion of food is provided by bees one way or another.
If you look at the plate of food on your dinner table, bees have played their part either pollinating the many vegetables and fruits we eat directly or pollinating the food for the animals that we then consume. And that’s not all bees do for us – they are also very important for a system’s biodiversity and act as environmental bioindicators.
The importance of bees
There are more than 20.000 species of bees buzzing around all over the world today. Pollinators, like bees, are directly or indirectly responsible for 75% of the all the food in the world. But what is the importance of bees in food production?
Bees and other pollinators travel from plant to plant-transporting pollen. This transportation from a male plant to a female one allows fertilisation that will create fruits and seeds, and more plants.
Why does it matter? These plants represent almost half of the world’s fibres, oils and raw materials, help prevent soil erosion and are responsible for trapping carbon dioxide while producing oxygen.
Our bees are disappearing
Unfortunately, we’ve experienced a steep decline in bee populations – especially wild – over the last years. In 2006, a new term was coined: Colony Collapse Disorder. This is a phenomenon in which the majority of honeybees in a hive disappear, leaving behind a vulnerable queen and younglings. The colony is never able to recover and ends up dying.
But what is threatening our bees, and maybe causing this Colony Collapse Disorder? The answer is complex and due to multitude of factors. Loss of habitat and exposure to pesticides. Pests and diseases. However, the main cause could be climate change – or rather its effects.
Tiny insect, big impact
In light of this and acknowledging the importance of bees, the EU took a stand and banned pesticides containing neonicotinoids, a harmful chemical for these flying hummers. Later, initiatives by the CE were taken in order to protect habitats – avoiding deforestation, for example – reduce pollution and use of harmful chemicals, among others.
Following this action, private organizations started campaigns to raise awareness and programs to help protect our buzzing pollinators. And rapidly the word spread, and from food giants to small e-commerce businesses, there’s a commitment to saving the bees.
In fact, the importance of bees is so critical that there have been not only efforts to preserve populations but also to develop tiny robotic bees. These autonomous drones would, among others, replicate real bees’ behaviour and perform artificial pollination.
It’s up to us
The time is now. We have a responsibility to these tiny buzzing insects, as we have to our planet and to all mankind. It’s time that every one of us, from the individual to the corporation, make a choice to protect the bees and their habitats.
Are you ready to make a difference? Invite bees into your garden and into your surroundings: plant bee-friendly flowers and plants – like lavender, coriander, fennel or thyme – and give them a safe environment to buzz around.