Honeybees, or Alpis Mellifera, have been an important part of people’s lifestyles for ages. They don’t only provide honey and beeswax, they are also a very important pollinator. Bees are responsible, through pollination, for over 90 different farm-grown foods. When they eat the nectar in flowers, they get covered with pollen. They spread the pollen from flower to flower, helping the plant create fruit. Without bees, it would be impossible for most food to grow. There are three types of honeybees that live together in a hive: drones, workers, and the queen. Drones are male bees that live in the hive in the warm months and are forced to leave in the winter. Workers are the female bees you usually see. They perform all the jobs to keep the hive going. There is usually only one queen, and she is responsible for laying eggs. If the queen dies, the worker bees will feed larvae a special mixture called ‘royal jelly’ to turn her into a queen.
Bee populations have dropped 70%. Scientists aren’t completely sure why. They think its a combination of several factors. One reason is phones. Scientists think the radiation from phones makes bees’ lose their sense of direction. In today’s world, many people have phones, so this is a big problem. Another reason is global warming. Global warming makes fungi and mites grow faster and many of these can have negative effects on bee’s health. The last factor is chemicals and pesticides. Now, many farmers use pesticides and chemicals to keep insects away and to make plants grow faster. These chemicals can be harmful to bees, and hurt their honey supplies. All these factors combined are really hurting bee populations, many beekeepers report that they have lost about 30% of their colonies.
Bees going extinct would be disastrous, not just for humans but for every creature. Everything is connected in the web of life, and bees are an essential part of that web. Bees are so important that if they went extinct, we would be unable to produce 90% of our produce. Bees also help other species survive; without bees, many plants would be unable to reproduce. While there are other pollinators, such as butterflies, bees pollinate so many plants that without them we wouldn’t be able to grow a lot of food.
One way you can help is by buying organic produce. Organic produce is food that was not grown using pesticides and chemicals. Supporting organic farmers can make sure they can continue to produce their products organically, as farming organically is generally more expensive than using pesticides. Another thing you can do is plant flowers. Flowers encourage bees to come and can help them make enough honey to survive the winter. Bees are an amazing species and we need to help them survive.
"Honeybee." Honeybee, compiled by Joel Sartore and John Kimbler, National Geographic, 2020. National Geographic Society, www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/h/honeybee/. Accessed 22 Mar. 2020. The excerpt originally published in National Geographic, 2020.
Talk, Earth. "Why Are Honeybees Disappearing?" Edited by Frederic Beaudry. ThoughtCo, .Dash, 31 Mar. 2018, www.thoughtco.com/why-honeybees-are-disappearing-1203584. Accessed 22 Mar. 2020.
"No Bees, No Food." Environment America, environmentamerica.org/programs/ame/no-bees-no-food. Accessed 22 Mar. 2020.
*all pictures used with permission, and/or taken from the sites above.