Pollination: An Essential Ecological Survival Function.
Bees and other pollinators are the most imperative actors in our agriculture system – they are the guardians of all life! This is why June 21st to 27th is dedicated as Pollinator Week. So how do these adorable and fuzzy creatures do their part to sustain our food systems?
Bees are a vital part in helping our food crops grow and securing our global food supplies. The various types of bees include the honeybee, these are social creatures that live in colonies and are led by a queen. There are also stingless bees, and bumblebees which do not process honey. There are over 16 000 known species of bees that pollinate our crops and various plant species worldwide.
Fun fact: the majority of bees live solitary lives, and do not produce honey!
Without bees, our food simply would not grow. Bees work strenuously by moving the pollen from the stigmas of one plant to another. This helps ensure seed production for a diverse array of crops and natural flora. The pollination work that bees produce is responsible for the growth of fruit bearing trees, seed production for vegetables and the growth of the feed used to sustain meat agriculture!
In recent years, there has been a decline in bee populations which will hold serious implications to global food security. The reason for the loss in population is attributed to a variety of factors, but major causes include the use of pesticides, rising temperatures and change in plant growth patterns due to climate change, loss of habitat due to industrialization, and a loss of plant biodiversity due to monocultural farming.
Bees are the pillar of the ecosystem and the promotion of ecological diversity. The lowering populations of bees will also result in a lowering production of food crops, as bee pollination is necessary for these crops to flourish. The extinction of bees will cause a serious, and possibly irreparable, fracture to the ecological pyramid which sustains all life on Earth.
You can help preserve bee populations by learning more about pollinator conservation programs, purchasing honey (or other bee products such as wax) from local beekeepers, reduce your use of pesticides (or stop if at all possible), or you can check out our Edible Garden manual on how to attract pollinators to your backyard!
Bee Preservation Resources: