It’s the ultimate eco showdown…
In part two of a three part series on animal eco-warriors, Gingerly Green takes a look at one of earth’s smaller creatures and its big impact on the earth.
So, in our earlier installment, we discussed the wiggly, wobbly worm and the benefits it brings to our good planet. As promised, our next look will be at a buzzing little creature that does big things for our planet. (Granted, this “lovely” little creature also causes big reactions to my skin if we accidently have an encounter, but who am I to judge? J)
Any guesses? Of course! It’s the bee!
Check this out: According to EBeeHoney.com, “In addition to gathering nectar to produce honey, honey bees perform another vital function; pollination of agricultural crops, home gardens, orchards and wildlife habitat. As bees travel from blossom to blossom in search of nectar, they transfer pollen from plant to plant, thus fertilizing the plants and enabling them to bear fruit. Almonds, apples, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, cranberries, cucumbers, sunflowers, watermelon and many other crops all rely on honey bees for pollination. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that about one-third of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants and that the honey bee is responsible for 80 percent of this pollination.”
One third of our diet? We owe a lot more to this little buggar than I thought. Without pollination, plants die. Without plants, well, there’s a good chance we could die. I’m not digging that thought.
Something else I’m not digging? Declining bee populations. Over the past several years, the numbers of our pollinators has been taking a nosedive. What’s going on? Pesticide use and habitat loss.
According to Wikipedia.com, “Pesticides used to treat seeds, such as Clothianidin and Imidacloprid, may also negatively impact honey bee populations. Other species of bees such as mason bees are increasingly cultured and used to meet the agricultural pollination need. Native pollinators include bumblebees and solitary bees, which often survive in refuges in wild areas away from agricultural spraying, but may still be poisoned in massive spray programs for mosquitoes, gypsy moths, or other insect pests. Although pesticide use remains a concern, the major problem for wild pollinator populations is the loss of the flower-rich habitat on which they depend for food. Throughout the northern hemisphere, the last 70 or so years has seen an intensification of agricultural systems which has decreased the abundance and diversity of wild flowers.”
Not good – we need to keep these truly important creatures healthy – our lives in a large way depend on them.
Learn a little something? I did. While bees and I may not get along, I sure do need them. And so do the rest of us.
Stay tuned, in our final installment we’ll take a look at a beautiful creature that I’m terrified of. (Not kidding, I literally will bolt away from any relative of this creature…)