Bees, the perfect example of the beautiful cycle of life and the importance of that cycle. Without one participate the cycle can be broken thus destroying others down the line.
So let us talk about the honeybees, the tireless workers who literally bring Spring to full bloom. Without these smart, social, and absolutely essential insects we could not enjoy blueberries from Maine and almonds from California. They are one of the most important members in our global community and research has shown that every third bite of food we take we can thank them.
Not to mention their environmental importance for us and our economy they are also important for the animals that eat the fruits that come from their pollination, without the bees these animals would die of starvation.
So what is happening to them and what happens to us once they are gone?
Well, since 1990 a quarter of the bees in the United States, and in some places up to 50%, have been lost due to a new disorder, colony collapse disorder. No one knows the cause of this phenomena, but it literally causes the disappearance of all the adults in the colony thus depriving the young and old with food usually brought in daily by the adults. Some say this disorder could be from fungus, parasites, poison from insecticides, bacteria, viruses, or a combination. In addition to all of these theories an article was published in February of 2007 stating that "cell phone radiation seriously interferes with bees' ability to navigate through the air" and could be one of the causes of their widespread disappearance. As of April 2010 there is no solution and little advance to finding one.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture have "solved" the problem of mites, which arose in the 1990's by creating a chemical that killed them. Soon the mites became resistant and began killing thousands of colonies a year. After desperate attempts to solve this problem the department found a bee in Russia that is resistant to mites, but they are not plentiful and widely available as of February 2008.
Bees are extremely delicate and bee keepers are working hard to keep their hives healthy. The main problem is public awareness and chemicals sprayed into the air by farmers and even home owners.
The history of mankind runs parallel with that of bees. Increasingly as man has exploited nature, the bees have diminished with it. The importance of bees is so important and if they are to go extinct we would never see honey again, the plants that depend on their pollination would not be able to reproduce and eventually go extinct, and the animals that depend on these plants for food would eventually disappear as well. We lose the bees and we lose millions of plants (thousands of species) and millions of animals (hundreds of species).
So what does this mean for us? Well we could say good-bye to honey business which is huge and we could also say good-bye to the medicines we make from honey and the millions of people who take honey daily for the amazing benefits it has to our body. We could say good-bye to the farming industry (especially the organic farming) and have to come up with a more creative solution to farm on the scale that we have been accustomed to; and some say $14 billion worth of seed and crops in the U.S. is directly related to the bees. We would most likely see starvation in the parts of the world that depend on bees more for farming and have little money to spend on chemicals and industrial farming practices here in the United States.
There is little knowledge about what exactly would happen if the bees were gone. One famous quote that should give you chills is from Albert Einstein who stated that:
"If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination... no more man!"
So what can we do at home? What can we plant? What can we stop using?
- STOP using chemicals pesticides. The spray you used to use for killing any kind of insect in or around you house should not be used! Think about the effects for the soil, the plants, and even the air. WAKE UP PEOPLE!
- Hand pick Japanese beetles from your roses instead of spraying them, because you never know how many bees come to the rose bush to pollinate (studies show about 150 a month) and if your spraying chemicals on it they are taking those back to their hives!
- Support your local honey DON'T buy from the grocery stores,BUY LOCAL!
- Read the labels on compost your buying. Imadacloprid, a deadly insecticide manufactured by Bayer, and sometimes disguised as "vine weevil protection" but is toxic to all insects and all soil life including vital earthworms. The insecticide is absorbed by the plants and thus transferred to the bees.
- Buy wildflower seeds and put them wherever you want, they will grow! Some "guerilla gardeners" plant them in public parks!
- Avoid seeds coated with insecticides. The plant becomes toxic to all insects. Many seeds are now coated with Clothianidin and other chemicals!