When it comes to insects, many of us get chills down our spines seeing one moving or flying around our head, and most likely we underestimate their importance to flora. But thankfully we have people who dedicate years of their lives on studying their importance and make us aware of that.
This week on annual Earthwatch debate five great scientists debated around five types of insects, which are fungi, bats, plankton, primates, and bees, to reveal scientifically which one of them is the most important, but also the most endangered one. As in the conclusion of this debate, bees came out to be one of the most vital components of the planet’s ecosystem.
According to a Greenpeace report, about 60 to 90 percent of the food we eat needs help from pollinators such as bees to reproduce. This includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts, much of which we consume daily. This also means that as bee populations diminish, Earth’s biodiversity also diminishes, potentially affecting further species and causing a domino effect in that regard.
Image credits: ASAP Science
ASAP Science illustrates this with almond plants. Almonds rely on pollination to produce almond nuts. The hulls are used as feed for cattle and chickens. No bees, means no almonds, means no cattle or chicken, meaning humans will have less meat, milk, and other products. This is just one of the many food ecosystems that are affected by bee populations. Besides this, there is the multi-billion dollar industry revolving around honey production, waxing, nectars, and bee bread.
Many NGOs and activist groups are calling for reforms for the sake of stopping the rapid decline in bee populations. Apart from natural bee diseases and invasive species, the main factors affecting bee livelihood are insecticides, climate change, and lack of flora. By making changes in how humanity grows its food and how it treats Mother Earth, it will become possible to also turn the tide on the decline of bee numbers.