Raphaela Zocklein: All the Buzz

The Honeybees are not just little insects, they are the hardest working creatures on the planet, and the most important Insects to the humans and the nature. These little fascinating creatures are not only pollinating plants, they are also providing our daily food. We need to take care of this creatures in order to survive.

Since I have made the point that this little insect is so crucial, a little biological background knowledge is critical. In a BBC study, there are around 25, 000 different types of bees species divided into just nine families, - the Andrenidae, Colletidae, Dasypodaidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae, Melittidae, Stenotritidae and the most known group of bees, the Apidae. In the family of the Apidae is the Honeybee. In a hive, the honey bee can produce averagely around 11kg of honey a year. A Honey bee produces honey from nectar, which is a sweet sticky substance exuded by most flowers.

Around one-third of the food we eat is pollination dependent of a net worth of over $400.000 million to the world economy each year. The bees pollinate around 70 to 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world's population. If we lose the Honey bee, the supermarkets would contain less than half of the amount of fruits and vegetables we currently have. Can you imagine living without fruits and vegetables? How boring it would be without this delicious sweet fruit?

We are losing the honey bees because of environmental degradation and humans are forced to work arduously to avoid starvation. In the orchards of China's southwestern Sichuan province, in the village Nanxin, the inhabitants are facing the disastrous consequences of the extinction of the bees. The farmers of the Nanxin village need to pollinate the plants by hand to survive hunger. The story of Le Monde suggest that, “each year, all working-age villagers are summoned for hand-pollination. This activity started in mid April and had to be completed before the 27th of April. This strict timeframe fixed by the weather and the flowering cycle requires them to be fast. Even the oldest of these acrobatic villagers are dexterous enough that they can lay the pollen on every tree's flower in just half an hour. Such performance is necessary as each owner has between 100 and 200 apple trees.” This quote clarifies the hard work that the farmers in Nanxin need to provide to survive without the bees. It reveals the important role of a honey bee in the world economy and the hard work the bees do every day. According to Professor Tang, “the time when the low quality of farm-produced food has become a major political issue in China, the prices of hand-pollination became more and more costly. The bee man and woman get paid around 80RMB ($14.43) per day, but the biggest problem is that the younger generation is more attracted “to the city light”. The decreasing number of workforces for hand-pollinations in Nanxin increases the cost of living, and is already forcing villagers to turn to more expensive fruits to survive. All this arduously work would be unnecessary, if the honey bee was not under the threat of extinction.

The reason, why the bees are under the threat of extinction is mostly because of the heavy use of pesticide. Most farmers largely use Phytosanitary products like pesticides to eliminate insects that may harm the plants. “Unfortunately, the estimated number of all crops produced in the United States each year are destroyed by agricultural pests, are nearly 37% which results in an economic loss of around $122 billion a year, “ claims the writer Margaret Cunningham. This quote suggests that only in the United States, the economy loses around one-fourth of its global economy net worth. Due to this high loss of food production, farmers keep using pesticide on plants. Nethertheless, how come the creator of the products have not thought about, that this product is bad for our environment? Although the bees natural habitat is in the fields and heavily forested areas. Through the largely use of the pesticide and in addition the climate change, bees are forced to move in a region with enough food resources and living based climate. Causes of climate change is the pollution by humans activities and burning of fossil fuels.

However through some help, we could decrease the extinction of the bees to have a long tasty life.
Most importantly, is to become a bee activist, we need to protect and provide more friendly areas for the bees. Instead of using fossil fuels, use bicycles, public transportation like trains and bus to get around. Eat more of non pesticide foods and plant more bee-friendly plants in your garden. The benefits of non pesticide foods is they contain more nutrients and minerals. Bees need a lot of pollen for their daily diet, many nectar rich plants like the asters and sunflowers, also tall plants like hollyhocks, larkspur and foxgloves, Willows and lime trees. Some of the plants we can find also in Mali like the apple tree and the corn flower. Also think of creating some space for making a Beehive. With some materials we are able to make our own little beehives! It will be be superior for the plants and your garden will be buzzing!

In spite of everything it is never too late to learn. If everyone is helping, we could protect the Bees from the pesticides, and hold the global environment in balance. Although the honey bee is small, it has a gigantic benefiting for the nature and the humans. Last but not least, everything could have been prevented, if we had thought more about the bees. Without the bees everyone would be affected and life is too short to miss out on all that tasty food.