Pollinators, notably bees, are responsible for one out of every three bites of food consumed worldwide. Despite the importance of bees to both the environment and human nutrition, their numbers are steadily declining worldwide.
Within the last decade, beekeepers in the United States and Europe have reported annual bee colony losses of 30–50%. Many factors, including pesticide use, industrial farming practices, habitat loss, and climate change, have been blamed for the dwindling population.
Here are four reasons why it’s important to rescue bees around the world, which contribute to human health and environmental safety.
1- The social organization of beehives can serve as a useful example of group work.
The bees have a lot of wisdom to impart. All of the bees in a colony contribute to the colony’s success in some way. Every member of the colony is vital because their work is essential, from the worker bees who guard the hives and tend to the food to the nursing bees who care for the young.
2- Pollination by bees is essential to our agricultural systems.
Saving bees isn’t only about making sure insects can continue to hum and pollinate; it’s also about ensuring the long-term health of our food production methods. The FAO reports that bees and other pollinators have an impact on 35 percent of the world’s agricultural area, helping to ensure the success of 87 of the world’s most important food crops. Bees are essential to ecosystem health because they pollinate a large proportion of the world’s flora.
However, the expansion of industrial agriculture over the past few decades has played a significant role in the loss of pollinator numbers. Plant diversity is often reduced due to farming methods, depriving bees of essential food sources and releasing large quantities of hazardous poisons.
3- To combat global warming, bees are on the front lines.
There is mounting evidence that suggests climate change is a major factor in the worldwide loss of bee populations. There is only a narrow temperature range where certain species of wild bees and other pollinators may survive. As a result, their range and population size are both reduced as they are driven by rising temperatures to areas with cooler temperatures. This may cause repercussions in the eco-system at large.
Generalist species, which can live in a wide variety of temperatures and circumstances, tend to replace populations of specialist species when they become extinct. However, when generalist species replace specialists, the entire system is far more vulnerable to abrupt changes because they can’t fulfill specialized roles.
An ecological cascade may develop, jeopardizing the balance of the entire ecosystem. Population declines are anticipated to continue as climate change places additional stresses on more habitats.
4- A thriving bee population is good for the environment.
The bee population’s precipitous decrease is representative of a broader global trend of dwindling biodiversity. For survival, reproduction, and nesting, bees rely on varied and rich vegetation. Thus, local pollinator populations are also impacted when ecosystem variety declines.
However, the converse is also true. Birds, lizards, snakes, and frogs, all of which feed on insects, will return to landscapes as ecosystem variety begins to recover. This is because plants and insects typically serve as the cornerstone of healthy ecosystems.
This has the potential to improve agricultural output while simultaneously bolstering pollinator populations. Farmers can take this step by planting bee-friendly habitats on some of their land and showcasing flowers that give nectar and pollen all through the year.
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