Many of you will be aware that for the past several years there has been an increasing awareness and worry that the bee population throughout the world is dying out. Although bees are often kept in hives and tended by bee keepers their ability to solve the problem is limited because their numbers are limited.
Bees pollinate all our plants and it has been suggested that their contribution to Europe’s food chain is worth about 14.2 billion Euros – and their contribution is free.
In the last 70 years 3 species of bee have died out in the UK alone, and over 70% of the flower-rich meadows essential to the bees’ survival have been wiped out. Out of the 19 species of British Bee 3 have been extirpated, 8 are in serious decline and only 6 species still thrive. Experts warn that we could lose the honeybee population completely by 2018, along with £165 million worth of apples, pears, canola and other crops. Crops the UK will then have to purchase from abroad at extra expense; crops also lost to the UK economy.
All over the world bees have been dying from something called colony collapse disorder. In the winter of 2007 US bee keepers lost 30% of their hives, in 2008 they lost 35%. Similar losses have been recorded in Canada, Brazil, India, China and throughout Europe. Belgium and France have lost 25% of their bee species over the past 30 years.
The Chinese use thousands of ‘human bees’ with bottles of pollen and pollinating sticks made of chicken feathers to climb trees each spring and pollinate the pear blossoms. Which is fine for a country with millions of workers at their disposal.
The threat is serious. 87 of the world’s 115 most important crops require pollination, and these crops represent approximately $1 trillion in agricultural sales world-wide. They also provide approximately 35% of our calories, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
If we have nothing to pollinate our crops then you can forget the antioxidant and oter protective properties of blueberries, cherries, apples, grapefruits, avocados, squash, cucumber, macadamia nuts and almonds. Probably to the relief of children and many adults you can also forget broccoli and lettuce. These things would cease to exist as part of our food chain, but the chemicals they protect us against would not.
Putting it simply, the bee is key to our survival because bees pollinate plants in our food chain that give us a) foods we like and b) foods containing nutrients essential to our survival and well-being.
Why is this worth an article though? They’re only bees and the vast majority of sentient, intelligent human beings are too concerned with their jobs, their new cars, mortgages and children to worry about an annoying buzzing insect that might sting you. Perhaps some readers still swat them with a newspaper if they dare to come indoors and invade your pristine environment.
It’s worthy of mention because we need to wake up! Humans think of themselves as a mighty, invincible, intelligent species capable of great inventions and quantum leaps forward. Yet we don’t have the sense to realise that an insect we step on really could be the end of us.
There has been much comment about 2012 and the ‘end of times’, and the world-over doom mongers are suggesting a variety of different apocalyptic events that could wipe us out. It’s one thing to be wiped out by an asteroid or a gazillion watt sun spot over which we have no control, but how pathetic would it be to be wiped out because we didn’t have the sense to see that God’s simplest of creatures are key to the survival of our great intellect – the one that created poisonous chemicals and nuclear power stations. OK I digress there, but you get the point.
It isn’t just the bee. Many people who aren’t in the Spiritual field laugh at the weirdos who respect the earth and see it as a goddess to be revered and worshiped. Yet this very earth and the creatures we think of as insignificant compared to us keep us alive. There is nothing fanciful and weird about it – it’s a simple statement of fact.
There is much we can do to stop over-consuming and over-farming and there is plenty of information out there to help those of us with the common sense to be awake to the plight of this world. Visit any bumblebee conservation website to see how you can help to create natural environments so that the bee can continue to thrive and keep us alive.
Start thinking about this glorious planet of ours and the creatures who share it with us that you may not realise keep us alive, and when you’re done thinking for the sake of your children and grandchildren – start doing!
Remember, the IQ we talk so much about us might not save us, but the humble Bumble Bee can.
Wishing you happy days, peaceful nights, and all the antioxidant rich foods you need.