Ecology And Environment

Honeybees and Food Supply

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"Honeybees and Food Supply"
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The world without bees - a dead one.

Honeybees and other pollinators are a crucial part of the global ecosystem. Without them, we wouldn't be here. The bees are the ones who keep the world alive, sustaining vegetation to live another day. Without them, we would most likely go extinct. That is a hypothesis I would not like to test.

Honeybees sustain the world by spreading pollen from flowers and plants to other vegetation. If they were to be wiped out all at once, it is predicted that we would live only another 4 years before dieing out. The pollinators of the world play an important role in the world's ecosystem. But if they were to be wiped out, why would we, who depend on meat as well as vegetation, be wiped out?

The answer is simple. All you have to do is take a look at the food chain. If investigate closely enough, you may find that somewhere along the food chain, you will find animals that are COMPLETELY dependent on vegetation, excluding necessities such as water. Then there are the other animals that are dependent on animals that rely on vegetation. And so on.

A prime example of this is an animal that is commonly eaten by humans. Cow, or as we know the food, beef. Cows provide two main food sources that are nearly essential for our survival. Meat and milk. Imagine, no milk. Teeth would drop out of mouths, and bones would easily snap. Sure, there are other calcium supplements, but milk is the most reliable, and the easiest to access.

Cows also supply meat. Yes, there are other sources of meat but think for a second. What do sheep eat? Grass. How about pigs? They all depend solely on vegetation. And we depend on them.

But there is hope. Sea creatures wouldn't be as affected from the extinction of honeybees. Of course, mangrove dwelling fish and other animals in that environment would, but not ocean dwelling sea creatures. But the oceanic climate is already on shaky ground, with krill and other creatures low on the sea food chain populations plummeting. If we were to rely on the ocean as our only food source, then their levels would too drop. Not to mention the mass deaths of humans who cannot afford to live near the water and are forced inland, where there are no honeybees and the world is dead.

If we do take to much from the ocean and end up becoming extinct, we leave room for evolution to take place on the newly made dominant species. Eventually the world will be populated again, when the ecosystem re-balances itself. But not with humans.

Now that we have established the effects of the extinction of the honeybee population, we can look at why they are going extinct. We are the main cause. If you found a bee nest in your backyard, you would be most likely tempted to spray the nest and kill all of the bees inside. But what many people don't understand is that bees aren't as scary as their reputation. If a regular honeybee stings you, it is a certain death sentence. For the bee. For you, it's just a little bit of pain. With that in mind, bees only sting to protect the hive.

But the major reason for honeybee population reduction is a certain mite. This mite, brought to many countries illegally isn't native to these countries. It will jump on the bee without the honeybee noticing. When the unfortunate bee goes into the hive, the mite will reproduce, kill the bees and eat the eggs. A slow death awaits the bees in the hive.

So, as you have just read, bees are an essential part of the global ecosystem, and we wouldn't exist without them. Nor would most of the animals we know and love. So please, for everyone's benefit, the next time you see a bee, let it outside. If you have a hive nearby, call an apiarist that doesn't kill the bees, but keeps them, or moves them. The global ecosystem could depend on you.

More about this author: Kaimyn Chapman

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