Save the bees! Throughout the world, campaigns are being carried out in support of these small furry and inconspicuous workers. Threats that prevent the disappearance of bees, sound more and more often. You do not even suspect how much influence bees have on our world, especially agriculture and its associated business. Here is a list of ten items selected by Sidney Sauer, who may disappear with bees.
World Food Supply
We are all well aware that bees are an important part of the process of pollination and the work of agriculture, but few people think about the extent of this importance. Today, around the world, there are 100 major varieties of crops, which together account for 90% of the volume of human food. Apples, bananas, avocados, corn. Bees are the primary agents of pollinating 70% of these crops. About 63% of our food is directly dependent on bees.
Although there are many other pollinators, their influence is insignificant compared to bees. Bats, for example, following on the contribution of pollinators, but prefer plants with faded colors. These boring cultures, such as agave, guava, figs, account for a much smaller percentage of the share of the world food market, and they will not be enough to support seven billion people – unless, of course, we go massively to Fijian pudding.
In addition to various fruits and vegetables, bees are also the main pollinators of coffee. Therefore, without bees, coffee supplies in our world would be reduced and the industry would lose its profitability. At first glance, this seems illogical: caffeine is not among the “needs” of man, and the end of coffee should not mean the end of mankind. But the amazing volume of the industry of our world lies on the production and sales of coffee.
In 2016 alone, Starbucks collected 21.3 billion dollars in gross profit. As of May 2017, this chain had 245,000 employees. Coffee also remains a valuable product in Latin America, especially in Guatemala, where most of the population is tied up in the coffee industry. Without bees, the multinational coffee empire collapses and will leave hundreds of thousands of people out of work around the world.
Halloween with pumpkins and pumpkin porridge
Bees and bumble bees – the main pollen of pumpkins. In contrast to the usual harvest, pumpkins often grow in small villages in small gardens. Annually farmers produce about one and a half billion kilograms of pumpkins.
Given the diversity of crops that farmers usually grow up, the loss of pumpkins will be a heavy, but a viable blow to their household. Nevertheless, for the Halloween industry, in which 170 million consumers spend about $ 850 million annually for carving of pumpkin heads, the lack of pumpkins will be a powerful blow. Seasonal business on Halloween will disappear, and lovers of sweet and cheap pumpkin porridge will be very upset.
Cotton is one of the most popular materials for fabric at present. Historically, cotton has become the most popular bloom on American soil, and much of the history of the country has become a direct consequence of the influence of this plant. Today 60% of women’s and 75% of men’s clothes contain cotton. More than half of all clothing is made from cotton materials.
As you may have guessed, bees pollinate most of the cotton. Without bees, this material will disappear, and with it jeans and T-shirts. Although in the developed world this inconvenience, in principle, could be experienced, in the underdeveloped parts of the world, where cotton fabric helps to keep cool temperatures under the hot sun and protect the skin, it will affect much more.
Honey bees are necessary for the cultivation of many types of nuts, including almonds and cashews, as well as many others. The world’s largest almond company – which accounts for 80% of the global market – underscores the importance of bees to pollinating their crops. In fact, the demand for bees is so high that the almond industry in the US owns half the population of all bees.
Cashew is another popular kind of nuts that can not be without bees. In Africa, cashews grown with pollination of bees yield twice as much harvest as artificially pollinated nuts. Thanks to bees, family farms in these areas double their wages and receive additional income on the side, selling honey and beeswax. If bees had disappeared, not only world production of nuts would have decreased significantly, but many micro-businesses in developing areas would cease to exist.
A promising trend in renewable energy is biofuel. It serves as a gas, but unlike it, it is not pumped out of the bowels, but is produced from various plants processed for ethanol. This new technology is capable of revolutionizing the fuel industry and creating a more stable mode of energy supply for transport. Many companies, especially in Canada, prefer this kind of energy.
Biofuel usually includes ingredients pollinated by bees. For example, canola. Canola-based fuel is resistant to cold and has anti-corrosion properties, making it an ideal choice compared to other options. But, of course, canola oil can not be produced without bees, which pollinate the plant and keep this species alive. If bees are to die, the real biofuel industry, filled not only with workplaces, but also with renewable solutions to the world’s largest problems, will die.
Think about cargo transportation, and fruits with vegetables will be the last thing that comes to your mind. However, in reality they require a multitude of trucks and drivers that carry them around the country fresh and whole.
How does this relate to bees? If bees die, 70% of the most popular food will disappear. This will not only lead to hunger, but also to the collapse of the freight area. Trucks will translate into 70% less fruits and vegetables, which will result in serious perturbations in the economic market.
To successfully raise cattle for slaughter, you need four things: feed, grain, oilseeds and bran. Grass, corn and wheat are self-pollinated by the wind, so they will remain without our pollinating friends. Bran can be made from anything, just enough to add nutrients. But oilseeds we get only with pollinated bees of plants like canola and sunflowers.
Of great importance for the meat industry is that without these oil crops cattle can not gain the optimal mass and size. Oilseeds are the main source of protein for cows, due to which they become large and tasty. Without them, cows will suffer from heart problems, wither, they will not reproduce well and there is land. Without a powerful population of bees, which will pollinate these important nutrients for livestock, not only our fruit and vegetable stocks will be reduced, but also meat reserves.
The World Economy
The economy of a single country is not the only economic system that will suffer from the disappearance of bees. Other parts of the world are equally or even more dependent on bees. In many parts of Latin America, the sale of bananas supports the economy, for example. These countries annually export an average of 13 million tons of bananas compared to 2 million tons from Asia and 600,000 tons from Africa.
In Asia, the main agricultural products are cotton, oilseeds and various fruits. They account for almost 4% of China’s GDP. The African economy also thrives on unique types of fruits and vegetables, as well as on agricultural products in the production of oils.
As you have already understood, all these cultures are pollinated by bees and will die out when the bees leave. Honey bees alone provide a harvest of $ 15 billion worldwide every year, and along with other types of bees, this number reaches $ 30 billion in annual revenue. The loss of these pollinators will have disastrous consequences for the world economy and international trade, will give rise to a series of various crises that will affect every part of the world.
The human race
All these large-scale negative consequences led to the fact that some scientists and engineers came to the conclusion that people will not be able to live without bees for a long time. Many others remain skeptical of this theory, arguing that the disappearance of bees will not be a catastrophic event for humans, but will only cause economic difficulties and, perhaps, famine.
But a large group of other scientists maintain that the disappearance of bees and people go hand in hand. At the same time, people continue to destroy the habitat of these hairy insects. At the Earthwatch annual conference, scientists voted that bees are the most valuable species on our planet, ahead of mushrooms, plankton, bats and even primates. Without bees, the world would be completely different, and not for the better.