Friday was ‘World Bee Day’. Don’t laugh. Bees matter. No bees, no humans. If bees and other pollinators die out (and they are under threat) it wouldn’t be long before humanity dies out too.
Bees make honey, we know, and that creates jobs for people, 100,000 people in Kenya. What people don’t know is that the economic, social and environmental value of pollination is between 10 and 20 times the total value of honey.
Bees Vital in Feeding Humans
The phrase ‘busy as a bee’ is apt. To make a kilogram of honey a bee has to visit four million flowers and fly the equivalent of four times around the world.
Bees are vital in feeding humans but not just with honey. Bees and other pollinators are essential to about 35 per cent of the world’s total crop production, pollinating 87 out of 115 of the leading food crops in the world.
Bees Economically Important
Economically bees are vitally important in other ways (not just employment). The value of crops worldwide dependent on pollinators are estimated to be between $235 and $577 billion a year.
Added to their central role in crop production and the economy, bees also play an important role in the production of medicines, biofuels and fibres such as cotton and linen.
But bees are an endangered species. The overuse of pesticides and fuels, the destruction of essential ecosystems, deforestation and climate change are bad news for bees and that’s bad news for humans.
In Kenya, local communities in Kirisia forest, Mukogodo and the Mount Kulal ecosystems, are using their traditional to install beehives in areas set aside for forest restoration to protect seedlings from elephants while contributing to food production and resulting in much needed revenue.
If you like eating fruit, nuts and vegetable, or looking at flowers, you should appreciate bees.
So ‘Bee Engaged’, celebrate the diversity of bees (more than 20,000 bee species exist worldwide) and help the busy bees and help the planet.