Albert Einstein had predicted “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.”
Did you know that I am that important for agriculture? Yes, I am a honeybee and through this blog post, I am going to take you through my role as one of the most important pollinators of the world. You must be thinking why are we so important for agriculture? And why do scientists fear that a decline in our population would lead to a great loss to this sector?
Our main job is to collect pollen from flowers using a unique technique known as “floral fidelity”, which means that we collect from only one species of a flower at a time. Although we are miniature creatures, but the role that we play in the planet by pollinating the plants, serves as habitat across the nation. This, in turn, helps to sustain the vigor and diversity of the environment. We are estimated to be worth $15 billion to the U.S. economy because of our role in pollinating agricultural crops. Similarly, cotton is majorly pollinated by us. In the UK, about 70% crops are dependent on our visit. Not only honey, but carrots, beans, fruits and innumerous vegetables are a result of our pollination. This is how we largely influence the entire food chain processes.
We are also great travelers. The pollens that we carry and use while pollination, are mostly carried from faraway lands, which brings about variety in seeds and flowers.
Unfortunately today, our colonies are being threatened. If you don’t save our population, our absence will disrupt the entire food system. Called the colony collapse disorder (CCD) or vanishing bee syndrome, this latest trend has gotten scientists also confused but a lot of it has to do with changing climate patterns which is affecting species across the world. Similarly, according to the American Institute of Biological Sciences, when farmers dedicate large-scale fields in monoculture crops such as maize, wheat and rice there is reduction in agricultural biodiversity. Farmers also use pesticides and insecticides which kills us poisoning nectar and pollen.
So what can be done?
- Innovative agricultural practices such as multiple cropping to ensure there is biodiversity
- Seed innovation to reduce the use of pesticides and insecticides; health studies have established that seed innovation is not harmful to honey bees.
- Community programs to create awareness
- Young people can look at innovative ways to support bee growth
In Argentina, Italy, and the U.S. a young start up is improving health and well-being of honey bees through offering innovative products such as, the Beespenser, an automated honey bee feeding system.
In Israel over 500 beekeepers get the support from Israeli Honey Board to implement innovative tactics to support 110,000 hives. For healthier bees and tastier honey, Israel plants 80,000 to 100,000 seedlings every year, especially eucalyptus trees, so we get abundant diet.
These are the reasons why we demand protection. Our involvement in the growth of crops is not only essential for farmers to maintain their livelihood, but it’s also necessary for you to keep enjoying the food you love. We request you to save us from decline. Let us create a harmonious environment where both you and we stay together for many more years to come…