By Marie Dunnion (Animal Voice)
“The honeybee is vital to the environment!” – Michael Caine (The Swarm)
The humble honeybee is small but mighty, and it is being increasingly acknowledged for its vital contribution to the preservation of Planet Earth. While Michael Caine may have highlighted the importance of the honeybee way back in the 1978 disaster movie, The Swarm, it has taken until the present day for human-beings to recognise the true value of honeybees.
Unfortunately, this newfound honeybee appreciation has come about largely because of the sudden decline of bee colonies all over the world. The disappearance of the honeybee has huge ramifications for the wellbeing of the planet and the future of humankind – and that is not exaggerating for dramatic effect. This is real life, not a movie!
An article published in March this year by the Independent declared, “Decline of Honey bees now a global phenomenon, says United Nations.” The world’s leading honeybee experts have issued a serious warning about the disappearance of bees because these amazing creatures are essential for pollinating crops around the globe. Basically, no bees = no food. Just digest the following statistical information:
“The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.”
So, why are the bees vanishing? There are several possible explanations, including declines in flowering plants, damaging insecticides, the worldwide spread of pests, and air pollution. Scientists have warned that without profound changes to the way we manage the planet, declines in pollinators needed to feed a growing global population are likely to continue.
The message is loud and clear – we just need to listen. Human-beings now have to take urgent action in relation to creating a bee-friendly landscape. The United Nations report suggests farmers and landowners be offered incentives to restore pollinator-friendly habitats, including flowering plants near crop-producing fields. Timing is also of the essence in terms of the application of insecticides – bees are vulnerable to these and other chemicals.
Special consideration also needs to be given to the artificial means through which we are combating the problem on a short-term basis. Industrial-scale hives and managed colonies are being used to make up the short-fall of bees and to maintain food supplies. However, this is another example of the manipulation and exploitation of animals to serve humankind. The answer lies in bettering the natural environment and not in transporting bees around to farms and fields at our human convenience.
In a world where human-beings constantly assume that they are “top of the food chain,” there is the tendency to forget how indebted we are to our fellow creatures, some so small they are often entirely overlooked. However, just remember…
“Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less, dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to seven billion people.”
The good news is that we can all play a special role in helping the declining bee populations! You can turn your garden into a safe haven for bees by investing in a ceramic bumble bee nester! The nester attracts bees to your garden and provides dry and secure nesting for these beneficial garden pollinators. You can buy a nester at the online ethical superstore. I am looking forward to using my nester in February and welcoming in my new bee friends!