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Honey bees are industrious little scamps. In exchange for the occasional sting, humans reap $30 billion worth of economic benefits from the crops they pollinate. Although bees have some competition on the pollination front from birds, bats and butterflies, they still manage to pollinate 70% of the crops that feed 90% of the planet. With bees gone, a very destruction domino scenario would unfold; bees pollinate plants, which then get consumed by animals.
If those animals lose their primary food source…well, you do the math. Meat-eating humans on the planet would be saying goodbye to cows as protein and dairy suppliers, plus birds that rely on bees as their main menu item would soon be wiped out. There’s a rough estimate out there that says with bees gone, mankind would have four years before they found themselves erased from the planet.
So the next time a honeybee gets a little too close to you, think twice about using a newspaper to smack it.
What if bees suddenly disappeared from the earth?
Could you live without honey?
How about clothes?
How about coffee?
Bees are the lifeblood of the food chain.
Where would we be without them?
The only way a plant will bear fruit is if it has been pollinated.
It’s important to know that bees pollinate 70% of the crops that feed 90% of the planet. In other words, a third of the food you consume.
So what if the last bee were to die today?
Within three months, worldwide crop yields would plummet. Your grocery store would lose about half of its produce, while the price of a golden delicious might soar to the price of gold itself….
…Along with most other fruits and vegetables that rely on bee-assisted pollination.
That includes Apples, Almonds, Avocados, Broccoli, Carrots, Cantaloupe, coffee, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Kale, Lemons, limes…
…I’m out of breath, let’s just jump to Zucchini.
It’s not just produce that’s at stake. Beef, milk, and cheese! Bees pollinate alfalfa; Cows eat alfalfa; And the average human consumes about 75 pounds of beef every year.
Starting to see a connection? Food chains would collapse.
Within six months, most farms would have to convert to wheat and corn fields.
Those are wind-pollinated crops that can survive without the help of bees.
But how long could you live only on rice, bread, and oatmeal?
Our diet would suffer. Becoming blander, less diverse, and less nutritious. Health complications would arise due to malnutrition – medical costs would soar with them.
As the price of food and medicine skyrockets, our economy would take a serious dive. Bees account for roughly $200 billion in global agricultural revenue. But don’t sweat it..! That may be your last shirt.
The United States is the biggest cotton exporter in the world. The industry rakes in $25 billion a year, and employs 200,000 people – not including bees, which pollinate the cotton.
So without them?
Consider this cash crop – liquidated. Canola oil. You might think it’s just for cooking, but it’s also a valuable biofuel that comes from a plant brought to you by bees.
The world will have have to rely on more coal and fossil fuels, increasing the strain on our already overburdened environment.
But hey, we’ll still have New York!… it’ll just look the way it did in the 1880s…
It’s not a pretty sight. But where will you go to find one?
Without bees, most plants can’t grow or reproduce.
Large-scale desertification would take place. Huge landslides could wipe out entire villages, and severe drought would starve the survivors.
Freshwater would start to disappear, since trees are needed for water retention, and, well, there’d be a lot less trees.
This brings us back to shrinking food resources – plant and animal. Leading to mass malnutrition, widespread famine, declining human fertility, and eventually– who knows.
What if hand-pollination were enough to make up for the catastrophic losses of bees?
What if scientists succeeded in building robotic bees? Or pollinator drones?
These methods are currently being tested, but at great cost.
What do you think a world without bees would look like?
Pesticides and parasites are taking their toll on bee populations. The scenario is not so far fetched.
Can we really live without them?
To bee or not to bee. That is the question.
Did You Know?
Honey bees are scientifically known as Apis mellifera.
Bees are the only insect that produces food consumed by humans.
A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
A colony of bees consists of around 20,000 to 60,000 honeybees and one queen bee.
A queen bee can live up to five years.
Each colony of bees has a unique odour so that colony members can find it.
Honey bees communicate with one another by dancing.
Propolis is a sticky substance that bees collect from the buds of trees. Bees use propolis to weatherproof their hive, to protect it from the elements.
Honey comes in different colours and flavours. The flower where the nectar was gathered from affects the flavour and colour of the honey.