Insects are undergoing extinction eight times faster than vertebrates. Among the endangered species are pollinators, such as bees. Most of us are familiar with the honeybees, however, they represent only a small part of the 20.000 bee species that exist. Most of them are wild and are very important for our planet since they pollinate plants. Without them, our planet risks losing plant species, some of which we rely on for our sustenance.
The Role of Bees for the Environment
Bee populations are in danger of extinction for different reasons which, however, are linked. Climate change, pollution and higher global demand for food have left our planet with little uncultivated land in which bees could live. Moreover, the life of these insects is threatened by honeybee diseases and pesticides. The honeybee diseases are caused by fungi, bacteria, and parasites which are shipped together with hives. Wild bees are subject to these diseases as well. Pesticides which are dangerous for pollinators, on the other hand, are a consequence of intensive farming.
Although they are tiny, bees are vital for the environment – as well as for us human beings. In fact, our food supply depends on these animals: they – and other pollinators – pollinate around 75% of the plants that produce 90% of global food demand. Besides, in the past decades, the number of crops that depend on pollination have tripled and the demand will keep on growing since world population keeps on increasing.
Pollination plays an important role also for other animals, in a way. As a matter of fact, this process involves also wild plants, which provide food to wild animals. And this is also essential when it comes to giving a house to such animals. Some trees which form forests, woodlands, and savannas – the habitat of a very wide range of creatures – can spread and grow only with the help of pollinators such as bees. As a consequence, the survival of many plants and animals depends on bees’ work.
Bee Extinction: Is There a Solution?
It is therefore clear that our planet and our ecosystem need bees. So, what can be done to stop their extinction? The first step would be to provide these insects a suitable habitat: landscapes rich in flowers are perfect for nesting. Reducing the use of pesticides – which do not discriminate between pests and bees – would also contribute to stop the decreasing number of pollinators. And, in conclusion, to save bees from diseases that put them in danger, the long-distance movement of domestic bees should also be stopped.