How important are bees and what will happen when they go extinct? Is there research into what is killing them? I’ve been told its weed killers… – Tink, aged 18, Cornwall, UK.
There are over 800 wild bee species within Europe, and 20,000 species known globally. 270 of these species have been recorded in the UK.
Seven of these species classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered.
Most Honeybees are kept by beekeepers in colonies of managed hives. The rest of our bees are wild, consisting of 25 bumblebee species and over 220 types of solitary bee. Like Honeybees, the familiar Bumblebees live in communal colonies – generally in holes in the ground or tree cavities.
Solitary bees’ nest on their own, as the name indicates. Each female buildm and provisions her own nest with food. Solitary bees include mining bees which burrow in the ground, and mason bees and Leaf-cutter bees nest in gaps in lifeless wood, banks and walls.
Bees – are very important for pollinating our food crops. Pollination is where insects move pollen from one plant and tree to another, fertilising them so they can produce vegetables, apples and pears and flowers and so on. Should the bee of any variety become extinct, then this would destroy our delicate balance of the Earths ecosystem and affect global food supplies.
In Germany, scientist have recorded 75% of insects in protected areas are in decline and facing extinction. Extinction threatens insects eight times higher than vertebrates.
These trends lead scientists to believe that about a third insect species—that’s nearly 2 million—may be threatened with extinction. And that figure is growing by over 100,000 species every year. Yet hard data on threatened insect species is lacking, with only 8,000 records actually assessed by the IUCN.https://theconversation.com/bees (2020)
Scientists believe pesticides, stress, climate change and lack of wild meadow flowers for breeding, pollination and nectar drinking are a major cause of this decline.
The change in the precipitation in the UK has brought about hotter summers whilst lasting longer. As experts expected, we are witnessing significantly more foreign insects. One being the Asian Hornet. It prefers a warmer environment, and our current climate is now agreeable for this off shore breed of hornet. This will likewise include mosquitoes amongst other insects and some breeds of bird.
The Asian hornet can inflict a possibly fatal sting that has already taken the lives of five people in France. They likewise kill whole hives of our English bees. It merely takes one of these hornets to wipe out the whole hive. There were over 12 nests in the UK last summer. They instruct people to report the sightings to the local environment agency or council. They advise it is dangerous to exterminate them without the professional equipment.
Since the end of World War II, the wildflower meadows that formerly adorned England have been replaced with rape seed, elephant grass or worst construction. As a result our bees, butterflies and dragonflies have nowhere to pollinate, breed or consume their nectar. Various insects have become close to extinction. Thankfully, these beautiful meadows are making a comeback. Farmers are setting aside patches of land intending to attract the insects, field mice, the vole, the mole, the stoat, the hedgehog and rabbit.
County councils are now planting the roadsides, round about and dual carriageways with wild flowers instead of maintaining them with short grass. This is attracting the butterfly, the all essential bees and insects that are needed for the natural biosphere. It likewise contributes to some mild comfort to the passengers traveling in the car. Individuals are better aware and are now undertaking to carry out similar in their garden, or at least a part of their garden. It is unquestionably creating all the difference as the experts report the increase of various species.
Bees and humans have wandered through time and history together. There is confirmation that there were bee keepers or melittologists, as we recognize them, as far back as 20,000 BCE. The theory is that beekeeping predates the unfolding of agriculture, which appeared 12,000 years ago and most possibly prepared the farming future. Today the art of melittology is a worthy hobby as it preserves the numbers of honeybees provides fresh natural honey for the farm shops or local village market.
Einstein has been quoted as saying, ” That if the bee comes extinct, humanity has around 4 years before it is wiped out” been.There is no evidence Einstein actually said this and they thought him to always be right. This statement is just not true. However, it would create a significant problem. In China they have a shortish of pollinating insects, so humans manually pollinate trees by hand. This is of course expensive. Hand pollinating even a small apple orchard is a time-consuming project, and China undertakes nothing on a small scale.
The most thorough and informative study came back in 2007, when an international team of agricultural scholars reviewed the importance of animal pollinators, including bees, to farming. Their results could encourage both the alarmists and the minimizers in the world of bee observation. The group found that 87 crops worldwide employ animal pollinators, compared to only 28 that can survive without such help. Since honeybees are by consensus the most important animal pollinators, those are scary numbers. Even among the 87 crops that use animal pollinators, there are varying degrees of how much the plants need them. Only 13 absolutely require animal pollination, while 30 more are “highly dependent” on it. Production of the remaining crops would likely continue without bees with only slightly lower yields.https://www.nrdc.org/onearth (2020)
So if the honeybee became non-existent, humankind would not follow. Our diets would suffer. Many foods we enjoy would diminish, and the cost of alternatives would rocket. Our supermarkets would have half the amount of fruit and vegetables.
The coffee plant could remain without bees, but it would become rarer and very pricey because of it. This plant is only available for pollination for four days. If an insect does not fly along during this time, then it possesses no alternative chance.This would likewise include apples, onions, several varieties of berries, avocado and varied other fruits. It would seem that to lose our British honeybee would not wipe out humanity, but it could wipeout one of our favourite beverages and our pockets.
Through bees pollination the economy contributes £165 million annually to the UK. In 2008, the British Bee Keepers Association determined this amount and again in 2009 the ‘UKs Public Accounts Committee confirmed it’ with the figure now at £200 million. Many flowering food crops in the UK rely on honey bees for this function. For example: apples, pears, field beans, runner beans, dwarf beans, broad beans, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and oilseed rape, with 39 commercial crops reliant on bees in total.
Bees produce honey to feed their colonies during the cold winter months. Humans have collected honey for thousands of years, but humans are not the only living animal who consider it a sweet snack. There are a quantity of creatures that care for honey and there is a quantity of birds that love bees, around 24 species of birds.. Spiders and countless other insects such as dragonflies also eat the bee. If the humble bee were to become extinct, it would upset the natural balance of nature.
Indeed, if a crop does not become directly fertilized by a honeybee, the shear will still benefit indirectly from being in an ecosystem in which honeybees are working. This is because of the biodiversity in the field which stimulates and encourages the crop to flourish. Our gardens and all the seasonal wild flowers we love to look at in the woodlands and fields are effectively there because of our respectful humble bee.
Where would we be without bees? As far as important species go, they are top of the list. They are critical pollinators: they pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Honey bees are incredibly important for our ability to produce the current $30 billion a year crops. Which means a world without bees could struggle to sustain the global human population of 7.5 billion..
It gets worse. We are losing bees at an alarming rate.