CRISIS PROJECT Environment

Why are bees so important to us?

Bees: They chase you, sting you, and even buzz annoyingly in your ear. But these small annoying creatures make a huge impact on earth and in the world of ecology. Throughout this decade, over a third of the UK’s bee population have disappeared. For many, bees are not their favourite, and most people are actually scared and run away from them, or even kill them. But what we don’t all know is the importance of this species. Although there are many types of bees who have different jobs, their overall role is to pollinate flowers. The pollination process is very crucial to the plant’s ecosystem as it helps to produce more plants and crops. 

Bees pollinate over a third of our food crops and 90% of our plants, which essentially is the food to our livestock. As Einstein once said, without bees, “man would only have four years left to live”. Now whether this is actually true or not, a world without bees would not be a good one.

So what would actually happen if all the bees disappeared? Bee Keeper, Roland Pinniger, says that “if the bees are gone, the production yield would go down a long way, not completely gone because there are a lot of other pollinating insects around… for example north americans didn’t have bees until the europeans colonised but they have plenty of plants being fertilised. it will be a lower yield.” So although we would still have some food, there would probably not be enough to feed the 7.8 billion people on our planet. 

The most commonly known cause of the decrease in Bees is Pesticides. Pesticides are a substance that kills insects and pests that damage crops. Although certain pesticides are a big cause to the dying bees, Varroa Mites are another source of their disappearance. Varroa Mites are a “blood sucking mite which came from the continent. They spread over the whole world. its a blood sucking mite which weakens the immune system of bees, which means they are more susceptible to anything thats going” says Pinniger. 

In 2019, the United Nations warned that ‘indispensable to food security, sustainable development and the supply of many vital ecosystem services’ is in decline, risking ‘severe production losses or livelihood disruption’.  In 2018, the EU agreed to ban all ‘bee-harming pesticides’ and banned the UK’s most used insecticide, Chlorothalonil, in 2019 after the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) discovered that Chlorothalonil was the strongest factor to the decline in Bees. Chlorothalonil has many uses around the world such as wood protectant, pesticide for barley and wheat, and controlling bacteria and mildew. Farmers were not completely happy about the EU’s decision as it would affect their barley and wheat production. According to the Farmers Weekly news site, Chlorothalonil helps control 125 different diseases for their crops. According to Greenpeace, a research laboratory at the University of Exeter, the expansion of integrated pest management and organic agriculture in Europe shows that farming without pesticides is very possible and would be both economically and environmentally beneficial. 

Although bees may seem insignificant to most, it is really important that we make efforts to keep the bee population alive.

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