Since our goal is to help develop a sustainable and well-functioning ecosystem, let’s talk about one of the most important living forms whose presence is a sign of a healthy ecosystem: bees. The United States has 4,000 native species of bees, and there are nearly 20,000 known bee species in the world.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), bees of all sorts pollinate approximately 75 percent of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the United States, and one out of every four bites of food people take is courtesy of bee pollination. In sum, bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year.
WHAT THEY DO
We all know that bees are making honey and that they are responsible for other products used in health care and other sectors such as beeswax, propolis, and honey bee venom. But their significance is going much more than that. Bees are the most important pollinators in the world. Pollination is the transfer of the pollen grain from the stamen to the stigma and egg. That’s how the plants are fertilized and able to produce the next generation of plants, and those are crops and fruits that we eat. Some plants rely on wind and water, but most flowering plants reproduce through animal pollination and the bees are the most important ones. For example, one bee colony contains 50,000 bees and they produce 30 lbs of honey and pollinate approximately one acre of fruit trees. Bees in total pollinate one-third of world food.
Overuse of pesticides in modern destructive industrial agriculture has a negative impact on the bee population. Declining bee population is just a symptom of a failed agricultural system that’s using aggressive chemical and energy inputs for a large scale monoculture. Growing pest and weed resistance, contaminated water sources, less fertile soil, increased CO2 emission, and climate change is affecting us all and the bees are a warning that transformation and change are much needed. In the world without bees it would be hard to survive, so we need to take action now and help save the bees.