Where Are the Bees?
Did you know that pollination is one of the most important ecological processes on the planet? This basic transfer of pollen from the male parts (anther) of a plant to the female parts (stigma) is vital for the reproduction of about 90 percent of the seed-producing plant species in the world. Pollination creates fertile seeds. Indeed, without pollination, many plants could not reproduce. Food webs and, therefore, entire ecosystems would collapse. We would quickly run out of food, medicine, wood products — almost everything humans and wildlife need to survive . Without it, the world as we know it, would be a different place.
Scientists are concerned because of the vital role bees play in our food supply. About one-third of the human diet is from plants that require pollination from honeybees, which means everything from apples to zucchini. Bees have been declining over decades from various causes. “Colony collapse disorder” was blamed for large, inexplicable die-offs. The disorder, which causes adult bees to abandon their hives and fly off to die, is likely a combination of many causes, including parasites, viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition and pesticides, experts say.
The value of these busy pollinators is immeasurable. While bees are probably the most recognized pollinators, it is important that we don’t forget about hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, bats, flies and beetles who are also important pollinators.