For those of you that pay attention to gardening programs and read environment articles, you may be well aware the there is are serious problems with the number of bees that are seemingly disappearing year by year. But why is this happening and what does it mean that the bee populations are so rapidly on the decline? Surely the eventual extinction of one small insect (that stings you) cannot make a huge difference to the face of the planet, not to mention the lifestyles that animals have adapted too...
Sadly this simply is not true. The humble bee plays an enormous roll in the day to day runnings of the plant cycle. Bees fly from flower to flower collecting nectar (in some cases to make honey) and as the bees do this, they pollinate the female part of the flower (the stigma) with the male part of the flower (pollen which is produced by the stamen) so that new flowers can be produced. Most plants are unable to pollinate themselves and so rely on natural aids such as insects and the wind, to do this for them. Without the bees the plant pollination rate would be dramatically reduced.
Scientists have pondered over the reasons as to why the bee population numbers have been declining so quickly. The most likely answers are that the inevitable effects of climate change are having a dramatic impact on the vulnerable bees, along with the fact that so many plants today are sprayed with harmful, chemical fertilizers. It has been estimated by some that some species of bee will have vanished in the next 20 years, others have estimated that the time will be longer and maybe even less.
Encouraging The Bees
As things stand today, there is not a great deal that can be realistically done in order to dramatically increase the declining numbers of bees. However, gardeners are trying hard to encourage more insect activity in their gardens by having more plants that attract lots of bees so that almost mini eco-systems are being established in a small area. Maybe we should all think about doing the same or not only will we lose the bees but also a number of the plants that we eat and enjoy...
For more information on the decrease in bees and the environmental effects that it will have please see: