Bees and Humans UP001

90% of all bees are solitary bees. As the name suggests, they live alone and not in colonies. Solitary bees are great pollinators: a single solitary bee could provide as much pollination as 120 honeybees. For millions of years, they have helped maintain biodiversity and kept our planet healthy.

Bees are not only extremely important for humans, but also for entire ecosystems to function. As we know, bees allow plants to reproduce through pollination. These plants contribute to the food system by feeding animals – aside from humans – such as birds and insects. If the food source for these animals was diminished or lost completely, it would cause the entire food chain to suffer.

Additionally, about 80 percent of flower plants depend on pollination. If this process stops, not only do we have the potential to lose beautiful plants, but also food for us, birds, squirrels and all of the other animals that depend on plants for food.

Why are Bees at Risk?

There are a variety of threats facing the bee population, including habitat loss and climate change, but the most pressing threat to bees is pesticides. Ironically, humans spray pesticides on crops to protect them from pests that could harm their productivity, but these chemicals are also responsible for killing bees which make many of these same crops possible. Neonicotinoids are some of the most harmful pesticides to bees as they function by attacking the insect’s nervous system which can lead to instantaneous death, but also bees that do survive exposure can become disoriented and forget how to find their way back to the hive – hence, Colony Collapse Disorder. The good news is that this class of pesticide has already been banned in the European Union and many stores in the U.S. are opting to remove them from their shelves for the bees. There is still a long way to go before neonicotinoids are no longer a threat to bees, but progress is certainly being made.

How Can You Help?

There are many ways you can help bees in your own community, such as:

- Plant bee-friendly plants in your garden.
- Support organic farmers who do not use chemicals on their crops.
- Spread the word about the importance of bees and their declining population.