There are around 20,000 known bee species worldwide. Humans only manage a few of these, and most species are wild.
As well as valuing bees for their honey, people have come to recognise the importance of bees in promoting food security and variety in plants and animals.
However, a rise in factors, such as pesticide use and urbanisation, means that bees are currently in decline, negatively affecting many of the Earth’s ecosystems.
A loss of bees would affect honey supplies, but, more importantly, world food security and biodiversity. Without them, the world could be a very different place.
How does this affect humans?
Farming practices, global warming, and disease are just a few reasons why bee numbers are declining. Experts are concerned about the impact on world food supplies, especially fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
They say that without bees, there will be no more nuts, coffee, cocoa, tomatoes, apples, or almonds, to name a few crops. This could lead to nutritional deficiencies in the human diet, as these products are essential sources of vital nutrients.
Additionally, the emerging medicinal properties of bee venom and other bee products may never be accessible without bees to provide them.
In financial terms, the pollination of fruits and vegetables by wild bees has a high economic value. One study found that wild bees were responsible for a significant portion of net income from blueberries. There is a direct link between the economic yield of farmers and the presence of bees.
What can you do to help?
Green backyards and gardens can be vital resources for bees. Growing native flowers and leaving weeds to develop can contribute to bee health and numbers by providing food and shelter. Reducing landscaping activities, such as mowing or pruning, can help bees by increasing the amount of vegetation available. As well as benefitting the bees, increasing rural spaces in urban areas can boost human mental and emotional well-being.
It is undeniable that bees are a critical part of the maintenance and flourishment of biodiversity on our planet. By minimising the risks that these insects face within their natural habitat, you can play a part in helping to protect and enhance biodiversity across our world to ensure the cycle of life continues to turn.
Walker Health and Safety Services have sponsored a beehive. Emma had the opportunity to build a hive on 8th July 2023 with Barry, one of the many volunteers at Shropshire Beekeepers in Shrewsbury. Emma homed a Queen, worker bees and drones. We managed to get some lovely photos of the new hive, the bees, the honeycomb, the brood and the eggs. If you would like to sponsor a beehive or donate money to the charity, please follow this link. Shropshire Beekeepers Association | Shropshire Beekeepers Association (shropshirebees.co.uk)
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