You have likely seen an image on the internet of what a supermarket looks like with bees in existence and what it would look like if bees didn’t exist. The shop is smaller and the shelves are empty, there are even fewer people shopping. Can bees really have such an influence on the world? The answer is quite simply, yes, but let’s take a closer look at why bees matter so much.
Bees matter for a wide variety of reasons but the most important reason and the key to why we need them around is their ability to pollinate. To put it bluntly, pollen is plant sperm. In order to reproduce more plants, flowers and other plants will release this dust into the air to see if they can spread the generic material and grow in other areas. Cross-pollination is when this haploid male genetic material is transferred to the stigma of another flower. There is also self-pollination when the process is moving the dust from the anther of a flower to the stigma of the same flower. Bees are the kings of pollination. Bees basically ensure that flowers can reproduce in the world. Without bees, we would have far fewer fruits and vegetables and far fewer related products as a result.
Think of it this way, if the world lost apples we would also lose things that use apple as an ingredient. This means that while the initial impact would be massive the follow-on impact would be even greater. Some estimates suggest that 75% of crops would die without the presence of bees. If you are sick of eating the same food all the time, imagine what it would be like without bees.
Of course, it is not just crops that would die out. Many animals rely on the food that bees pollinate and therefore provide. If we lost bees the entire ecosystem would be disrupted and many other animals would die out as well. While humans would probably be able to survive a lot of species would not.
We can’t even say for certain that humans would survive. A varied diet is key to our health and nutrition. If we had fewer meal options we would all get sicker a lot easier and without fruits and other fantastic sources of vitamins, the whole world would spend a lot more time being sick.
In the image that went viral on the internet, there were also fewer people in the shop and the shop was a little smaller. That is because if bees die it will kill our economy. Consider all of the people that work in different areas of agriculture and food services. Now make many of those people redundant. The impact on the economy would be terrible.
Bees also simply make the world beautiful. How many times have you walked through a garden and admired the flowers, it is what life is all about! Without bees, we would have far less to admire. Bees are also useful for knowing where explosives are. While we have all seen crime dogs in the past many of us have yet to see crime bees, but they exist. I haven’t mentioned the benefits of honey yet. This is one thing that bees directly produce so while we may suffer from all the indirect losses, can you imagine life without honey, no thanks!
There is lots that you can do to help ensure that bees stick around a lot longer. Planting wildflowers is a great way to support the bee ecosystem. While a green lawn may look respectable a wildflower patch is a lot better for the environment.