Join the buzz

Most of us possibly don’t have even a passing thought about bees . Much less ponder on the connection between human beings and bees. Yet , there is a connection . Bees don’t just make honey, they are a giant, humble workforce, pollinating 90% of the plants we grow.

Bees are vital to life on earth — every year pollinating plants and crops with an estimated $40bn value, over one third of the food supply in many countries. Without immediate action to save bees we could end up with serious disruption in food supply.

This is just the impact on human lives . There is a wider role that pollinating bees play in nature which possibly is not understood completely.

Recent years have seen a steep and disturbing global decline in bee populations — some bee species are now extinct and others are at just 4% of their previous numbers. Scientists have been scrambling for answers. Some studies claim the decline may be due to a combination of factors including disease, habitat loss and toxic chemicals. But new leading independent research has produced strong evidence blaming neonicotinoid pesticides. France, Italy, Slovenia and even Germany, where the main manufacturer Bayer is based, have banned one of these bee killers.

A world without bees is not necessarily a world that is completely devoid of life. Much of human existence is presently dependent on honey bees because they are currently the main pollinators. However, penguins and fish don’t need bees to sustain their diet. The human race is not likely to become extinct as a result of the bees becoming extinct. Instead, there would be massive deaths until the humans can evolve to eat foods that bees do not pollinate. Food production would decline as a result of the bees’ extinction but would never disappear entirely. Some type/quantity of crops can still be grown without the intervention of bees. The labor-intensive hand pollinating process would raise the price of food.

Life on Earth would survive without bees, but it would be a much different Earth. Most plants depend on insects like bees to pollinate them. Unless some other animal inserted themselves into that biological niche, most of our plants would disappear along with the bees. One source of photosynthesis that is independent of insects is in our water supply. Algae has a tremendous influence on the world’s oxygen production, so oxygen would not disappear. Because many trees and flowering plants depend on bees for their reproductive cycle, they would be highly stressed.

Avaaz is campaigning for a ban of neonicotinoid pesticides to stop the decline of bees . Pl click here to support the campaign.

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