Bees, whether we know it or not, are responsible for many of the foods we eat, and of course, honey! Without bees our crops would die and mankind will be plunged into despair.
Bees are flying insects that pollinate our crops and flowers. They are life givers and sustainers of life. There are over 20 000 different species of bee, each one unique and important to our eco-system.
Bees are responsible for ‘fertilizing’ our crops, which in turn are eaten by livestock which we then eat, assuming you’re a meat eater. Needless to say, if bees are removed from the picture, humanity and planet earth are doomed.
For instance, for every (approximately 100) fruit trees, one bee hive is needed for pollination. Without that bee hive the fruit trees will not grow. Studies have shown that fruit trees regularly visited by bees produce perfectly shaped fruits in compassion to trees rarely visited by bees, which produce deformed, discolored fruits. This a list of just some of the fruit and veg that rely on bees;
cauliflower, cabbage, garlic, blueberries, pumpkins, plumbs, onions, cherries, cucumbers and many more.
One of the most interesting things about bees is that they are able to get disease, and just like us and many other animals, they also feel stress.
When they are put into stressful situations, e.g. the moving of their hive and/or ingesting harmful pesticides, they are more prone to catching and spreading disease among themselves; which are often fatal without treatment and knowledge needed from the bee keeper.
Some of these diseases include, varroa mites; these mites are parasitic and feed off the body fluid of adult bees. Another disease which can be fatal to bees is Acarine mites and Nosema disease. These are parasitic mites who infest the air ways and the intestinal tracts of the bees. This is why it is so important to look after our bees and to make sure that they have an environment conducive to them and their needs.
They do so much for us and all they need from us to just BE, natural and free. Spraying pesticides on crops where there are bees is not only harmful for the bees but for us too!
According to a recent study published on Quartz about the decline in the bee population, mass produce companies are spraying a “cocktail of chemicals” on the crops which they call ‘agricultural chemicals. This ‘cocktail’ consisted of 9 different pesticides and fungicides and also contained 8 different chemicals that increase the risk of bees contracting the above mentioned diseases.
The study also mentions that, labels on pesticide bottles warn farmers to not spray these chemicals when bees are in the area. van Engelsdorp, an assistant research scientist from the University of Maryland had this to say on the effects of the ‘chemical cocktail’;
“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe,” he says. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”
The cold hard truth is that if we don’t look out for the bees we will suffer in the long term. The thought of a dystopian world comes to mind when I think about the death of and effect of bees dying would have on our planet.
They are just as a part of our Eco-system as we are.There has also been evidence of bees dying after being infected with a pesticide from weeds and flowers that were apparently not the target of spray. van Engelsdorp goes onto say; “It’s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practice.”
In a conversation I had with a former bee keeper I asked him to tell me what he’s learned from the bees, he replied by saying; “They have taught me how important it is to live as a community, they operate as one, and give their lives for each other. Together they sustain life.”
Just some food for thought!
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