Here are Some Stinging Facts about a World Without Bees
Summer is the sweetest time of year for most of us. It’s easy to see why. Days are long, sunshine and warm weather are abundant, and good times are never far away. Yet summer might sour on you pretty quick if you couldn’t enjoy its delicious foods. Imagine a cheeseburger with no onions, pickles or tomatoes – or meat or cheese, for that matter. While you’re at it, picture a salad with no cucumbers, a picnic with no watermelon, and a cherry tree with no cherries. Now imagine going to the store and finding the shelves bare. These scenes are an accurate picture of what a world without bees would look like.
Bees Do a Lot More Than Make Honey
Most people think of the lowly bee as little more than a pest. In reality, this hard working insect makes it possible for farmers to feed the world’s population. Don’t believe it? Here are just a few of the crops that depend on bee pollination:
- And the list goes on and on…
These and countless other foods would either go extinct or become almost impossible to grow. This ecological nightmare would afflict not only humans but animals as well. Meat would become a rare and costly treat. Say goodbye to your summer cookout. For that matter, say goodbye to up to 1/3 of the meals you eat.
“What About Vegetarians?”
The food crisis would affect vegetarians as well as meat eaters. A plant-based diet requires adequate amounts of not only protein but numerous vitamins and minerals as well. Many of these compounds come from sources that depend on bees to flourish. Everyone would find food harder to come by.
Most people get grumpy when they miss a single meal. Imagine how they would act if they went hungry for days. It’s a scary thought. Here’s an even scarier fact: the world’s bees are in big trouble.
“Where Have All the Bees Gone?”
Large numbers of bees started dying from unknown causes as far back as the 1980s. The threat began to skyrocket in the early 2000s. Some beekeepers report losses as high as 50%. Scientists call the problem Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). You’ve probably heard about it in the news. Its effects have experts across the globe pretty scared.
Many Suspects, No Single Cause
So what’s causing CCD? Most researchers cite a number of factors. The three deadliest culprits are:
- Parasites that make bees vulnerable to infections.
- A special class of pesticides called neonicotinoids.
- Environmental changes such as habitat loss and water contamination.
Research on CCD is ongoing. In the meantime, there’s something you can do to help bees make a comeback. It’s neither hard nor costly. In fact, It’s something you might already do for fun.
Plant Flowers. It’s as Simple as That.
A bee garden contains flowers and other plants that are rich in nectar, the substance from which bees make the honey they eat. You don’t need a huge amount of land to grow a bee-friendly garden. In fact, planting a single flower in a pot can make a difference. Here are some other things you can do:
- Use natural alternatives to artificial pesticides.
- Buy your honey and your produce from local sources.
- Take up beekeeping, either in your spare time or as a profession.
- Spread the word about bees and the good they do for the environment.
Here are more tips for gardening in a small space.
Together we can help to keep the world’s bees healthy. They will return the favor by ensuring the world has plenty of food, both now and in the future. That’s a sweet deal for Mother Nature and for us.
by G. Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org
Honey has an energy content of 304 kCal per 100 gram or 1.27e6 Joules per 100 grams.