Many people think of bees simply as a summertime nuisance. But in fact, more than $15,000,000,000 a year in U.S. crops are pollinated by bees, including apples, berries, cucumbers, and almonds. However, in 2006, seemingly healthy bees started simply abandoning their hives in masses, never to return. Researchers are calling the mass disappearance ‘Colony Collapse Disorder’, and they estimate that nearly one-third of all honey bee colonies in the United States have vanished.But what would our future without bees look like?
A lot of important crops rely on bees to reproduce. How? Well, really, it’s accidental. Usually they are at the plant to get food, the sticky pollen or a sweet nectar made at the base of the petals. When feeding, the animals rub against the stamens and get pollen stuck to their furry bodies. When they move to another flower to feed, some of the pollen can rub off onto this new plant's stigma. Pollen may “germinate,” which means that a pollen tube forms on the sticky surface of the stigma and grows down into the ovule of the plant. This growth can result in successful fertilization of the flower and the growth of seeds and fruit
If Earth lost most or all of it’s bees, the damage would be catastrophic. First, all the plants that bees pollinate would stop reproduction and die out. Then, all of the animals that rely on those plants to survive would most likely starve, leading to their predators, including humans, to also lose a major food source. For humans, the main foods that would still be around would be corn, wheat, and oats, because they are pollinated by the wind. Also, natural cotton (which makes up about 40% of the world’s fibers) would cease production. As an example of the impact on our food chain, bees pollinate almond plants, the hulls of which are used to feed farm cattle and chicken. If livestock farmers and factories had to find an alternative feed, it would result in the commercial production of items such as eggs, meat, cheese, and milk to plummet.
In summary, if we don’t do something about this problem, the world will go into a state of crisis, with most vital crops failing to reproduce. Our ever worsening future would take a hit as important foods and materials slowly die out. With overpopulation and increased portion sizes, the prices of food would skyrocket, making natural food a luxury. As the production of factory-produced food increases, global warming(one of the killers of bees in the first place) will take effect at a more rapid rate, causing rising sea levels to destroy a gigantic amount of homes, farms and factories, adding on to the complete anarchy that has already ensued. At that point there will have been millions of casualties and previously stable families now living in complete poverty. All because of a ‘summertime nuisance’. However, that dark future has not yet unfolded.
We can still stop it.
Thoreau Kohles, 7th Grade