Bees: An Essential Element to Our Blooming Ecosystem
March 24, 2017
Filed under Opinions
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What first comes to mind when you hear the word “bee”? Maybe a box of cereal, a certain meme-worthy movie, or a classic jar of honey? The average person may even consider bees as pests that you should run as far away from as possible. Well get this, all of you bee-haters: bees are a lot more than stripes and stingers, and now that their numbers are dwindling — it is time to bring all the wondrous things they do for humanity to light.
According to the USA Today website, the once abundant bumblebee now finds itself on the endangered species list. A particular bee species called the rusty patched bumblebee has seen an 87 percent drop in its population since the late 1990s. The species was once seen in an ample amount across 28 states, but is now found in only 13 of them. On top of it all, it’s unfortunate, yet not surprising, that the leading cause to the decline in bumblebees is human-related (usatoday.com).
According to The New York Times website, the widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers in agriculture is the primary culprit behind the bee’s falling population (nytimes.com).
Why stress the loss of this bug? If your last meal had some kind of fruit or vegetable in it, there is a very good chance that a bee is to be thanked. Bees are in the important category of pollinators that we depend on for agriculture. In a CNN interview, Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius stated, “Pollinators are small but mighty parts of the natural mechanism that sustains us and our world. Without them… our crops require laborious costly pollination by hand” (cnn.com).
A reference website explains, “Because bees gather nectar and pollen from one species of plant at a time, pollen gets transferred from flower to flower. This cross-pollination allows male pollen to be carried to the female parts of flowers for reproduction” (reference.com). In fact, according to BBC News, one third of the food we eat is pollen dependent. Humanity puts this huge responsibility on these tiny bugs, and this is how we repay them? (bbc.com).
These bugs can even bring in some dough! According to a fact sheet on the archived Obama White House website, pollinators contribute over 24 billion dollars to the United States, and honey bees account for more than 15 billion. Unfortunately, the loss of bee colonies have led to the decline of 10 million beehives which cost 200 dollars each, proving bees have a much bigger impact than we think (obamawhitehouse.archives.gov).
What can we do for the bees? On a larger scale, the government can play a big role in saving the species. Under the Obama administration, a Pollinator Health Task Force was established to promote the welfare of bees and other pollinators. Another thing the government can do is issue legislation to restrict the use of pesticides and fertilizers on crops, hopefully promoting the research in agricultural methods that are better for the environment (epa.gov).
We need to recognize that civilians can contribute as well. You can restrict the use of pesticides in your gardens or make small donations to organizations such as “The Pollinator Partnership.” The most important thing that you can do, however, is be educated about the issue so you can spread awareness. Junior Tugral Awrang Zeb stated, “One of the many things you learn about in AP Environmental Science is the endangered species of our world, such as bees. Not everyone knows the irreplaceable role they play in our ecosystem” (cnn.com).
Sure they can sting, but bees do a whole lot more than they’re credited for. So the next time you want to consider bees as pests, just remember to bee grateful, because they can’t bee replaced.