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The Impact on Humans if Bees Become Extinct

Endangered Bees

Image source: www.theguardian.com

Many bee species have been dying out in recent years, with honeybees suffering the most dramatic decline.

The loss of bees has been attributed to pesticides and other toxic chemicals, mite infestations, infections, and possibly even cell phone radiation.

Monoculture (growing single crops) is also a problem because bees are less healthy when they consume only one type of food. Bees are critical to the sustainability of our food supply.

Loss of the pollination services that bees provide would wipe out around 80% of our food plants. If we lost the bees completely, we’d lose the majority of our fruits, vegetables, and flowers. There would still be grains such as rice, corn, and wheat, but most of our more colourful produce would become a thing of the past.

The loss of many livestock food plants would also significantly diminish the amount of meat available, causing desperate, protein-starved people to plunder the seas, rapidly emptying them of fish.

Luxuries such as tea and coffee would cease to exist.

Cotton and denim would no longer be available, and beeswax, used in medications and other industrial applications, would be gone as well. Should the honeybees become extinct, the U.S. economy would lose $75 billion in jobs and output, according to former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns.

Ultimately, losing the bees would cause severe food shortages and economic, political, and social turmoil. It would also lead to a decline in human health, given that bees pollinate many of the plants that produce our healthiest foods.

There are a number of things that you can do to help save bees from extinction:

1. Plant a variety of native herbs, flowers, and fruit-bearing shrubs and trees in gardens, on decks, and in window boxes;

2. Add mason bee houses or a bumblebee houses to your garden (you can buy these or build them yourself using free instructions available online);

3. Allow weeds to grow in a section of your garden – they are great food sources for bees;

4. Don’t use toxic pesticides and support legislation banning them; purchase organically grown food;

5. Support bee conservation organizations; or

6. Become a beekeeper.

Benjamin, A., & McCallum, B., A World Without Bees, London, Guardian Books, 2008.
Brackney, S., Plan Bee, New York, Penguin Group, 2009.
Herriman, S., “Study Links Bee Decline to Cell Phones,” CNN, 30 June 2010.
Roach, J., “Bee Decline May Spell End of Some Fruits, Vegetables,” National Geographic News, News, 5 October 2004.

Endangered Bees

Image source: www.helpsavebees.co.uk

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