By Jordann Garlock
This week is National Pollinators Week. Though pollinators include birds, bats, and other animals, the most important pollinator species are bees. The problem with bees is that they are disappearing and a lot of people don’t realize that this is a big problem.
Since the late 1990s bees and honeybee populations have disappeared and continue to decline.
“Bees make more than honey – they are key to food production because they pollinate crops. Bumblebees, other wild bees, and insects like butterflies, wasps, and flies all provide valuable pollination services. A third of the food that we eat depends on pollinating insects: vegetables like zucchini, fruits like apricot, nuts like almonds, spices like coriander, edible oils like canola, and many more… In Europe alone, the growth of over 4,000 vegetables depends on the essential work of pollinators. But currently, more and more bees are dying. The bee decline affects mankind too. Our lives depend on theirs.” (https://sos-bees.org/)
There are many causes for the bees’ disappearance.
- Habitat loss: “The main threats facing pollinators are habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation. As native vegetation is replaced by roadways, manicured lawns, crops and non-native gardens, pollinators lose the food and nesting sites that are necessary for their survival.
- Pesticides: “Pesticides include products, such as weed killers and insecticides, which are designed to prevent, destroy, repel or reduce pests such as insects, mice and other animals, weeds, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Pesticides are used in nearly every home, business, farm, school, hospital and park in the United States and are found almost everywhere in our environment.”
What needs to be done?
First of all, the public needs to be made aware of the seriousness of the issue. Even Hollywood has tried to spread the message in movies and documentaries. Two good examples are Vanishing of the Bees and Bee Movie.
Vanishing of the Bees is a documentary directed by Maryam Henein. The film investigates colony collapse disorder. Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capital Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees.
“People don’t generally know what’s happening with the bees. There’s a lot of mystery and buzz around Vanishing of the Bees. People leave the theater feeling educated,” said Maryam Henein in an interview. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXIhDeXlapY)
Although Bee Movie is meant to be a kid’s comedy, there are some heavy elements to the film. The film follows a bee named Barry B. Benson, who has just graduated bee school. Barry befriends a florist and hangs out with humans. He soon finds out that humans can easily get honey from the grocery store and decides to sue the human race for stealing the hard to make precious honey. Through this plot, the film educates a younger audience how important bees really are.
The website Wildlife Voices is another source for bee-related information. Paul Shannon, a beekeeper from Florida, speaks at length about the need to protect bees to maintain ecological balance and what can be done to achieve that.
The next step after educating people is having those people take action. You can take action with the Endangered Species Coalition by asking the EPA to join European nations in banning a class of pesticides that is especially deadly to bees. You also can stop using pesticides at home and promote ecological farming by learning where your food comes from.
Please Help Save the Bees and Other Pollinators By Learning As Much As You Can And Taking Action.
Remember your food depends on these little buzzing friends.