How honeybee extinction would affect humanity?

Credit: Save the Bees


Honeybees are crucial and play a big role in ecosystem and agriculture. Most of the crop species, almost 90 %, that provide us food are pollinated by bees [1]. Bees initiate the reproduction among plants. Bee picks up pollen from stamen of a flower as it visits the flower to collect food. Then bee travels to another flower, and pollen on bee sticks to a pistil of that flower.

Since 2006, there has been an extreme decline in the population of bees [1]. This decline in population is due to pesticides, parasites and poor weather as a result of global warming [1]. But the main causes of this decline are pesticides and parasites.  Since pesticide is present on all parts of plant, bee will take it via pollen and pesticide will attack central nervous system of honeybee, which will lead to muscle paralysis and death. Neonicotinoids is a class of insecticides that have been used in agriculture, when bees are exposed to this insecticide they experience shock and muscle paralysis [1]. This eventually leads to death of honeybee.Another cause of the decline in population of bees is parasites [1]. Parasites known as Varrao, can reproduce only in a bee colony, they are blood-sucking parasites, which affects both young and adult bees [1]. As a result of this parasite, bee loses its legs and wings, which essentially results in death.

Even though plants can be pollinated by wind, the rate is very slow. As it mentioned before, the most effective way of pollination is by insects, mainly bees. As a possible solution researchers have developed remote-controlled pollinators, drones with sticky gels to pick up pollen from a flower and transfer it to another flower [2]. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan came across this idea, and conducted an experiment and they could successfully pollinate lilies. The cost of individual drone is around $100, and there is a need for an operator to control those drones [2]. In my opinion, this would not be a permanent solution for the decline in bee population, because of the massive food crops and it would not be efficient. Since drones alone will not be able to pollinate millions of flowers, chemist Eijiro Miyako the founder of these drones, suggests that bees and drones should be used together.





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