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Evolution has done wonders for many species by helping with defensive skills, survivor tools such as claws and teeth, and relationships between other species grow. Before pollinators came along, plants did have a way for reproduction however, it was not as effective as the pollination had become. Pollinators are crucial because plants now rely on pollination for reproduction. “Beetle, flies, and wasps are thought to be some of the first pollinators, accidentally spreading pollen while feeding on feeding on flowers. Flowers then responded to particular pollinators, coevolving with them to provide diverse bloom times, colors, scents, shapes, sizes, and rewards, and improving their reproductive efficiency” (Xerces Society 11).
All pollinators are extremely important to life on this planet; however, honey bees have evolved to become the best pollinators. Among insect pollinators, honey bees are the most dominant and important commercially managed species (Vanegas 312).
These bees have not always gotten the recognition that they deserved, and many individuals fear them or see them as annoying pests.
Honey bees are designed to pollinate because they have pollen baskets and pollen-collecting hairs that make it easier for them to carry. Throughout the years, they have been dependable and done their job, though in recent years there has been a significant decline in the honey bee population. It seemed to happen slowly at first, nevertheless, as time went on beekeepers began noticing fewer worker bees, leaving behind a queen bee, nurse bees, and plenty of honey; visibly there was nothing wrong. The colony collapse disorder is a syndrome wiping out honey bee hives; there was an estimate of six million bees around World War II, which fell to 2.
6 million in 2005 and fell below two million for the first time in memory (Jacobson 16). With honey bees being one of the most important animals, the survival of their species the key for the rest of the world’s species and there are solutions to help prevent their extinction.
There are two main misconceptions about honey bees, that they are dangerous and useless. These bees are not dangerous unless an individual develops an allergic reaction from being stung. Humans are far more dangerous to honey bees than they are to us because bees do die after stinging. It is not their goal to harm humans or any other animal for that matter and they will not attack unless they feel their hives are threatened or themselves feel threatened. This misconception that bees are useless is extremely inaccurate, in fact, “eighty percent of the food we eat relies on pollinations” (Jacobson 18). People in the 20th century also had misconceptions about and feared honey bees, “Many regions in America believed bees robbed plants for their vitality. Utah passed a bill in 1929 banning the import of honey bees” (Jacobson 15). Despite the fears, honey bees did thrive for many years and continued to pollinate and make honey.
“Today’s honey bees face pressures their ancestors never saw, varroa mites, small hive beetles, Africanized killer bees, bacteria, fungi, viruses, antibiotics, pesticides, global warming, urbanization, globalization” (Jacobson 136). With many more threats, the honeybees have been dying at extreme rates, which are preventable deaths. The first solution is buying from honey locally; however, that does not mean that this solution is not as important as the others. While it is easy to get swept up in buying from bigger favorite chains, buying locally is extremely important in general. Buying locally will help the beekeepers with costs that maintain bee colonies and invest back into the honey bees. Buying honey locally help the organizations around the community, and it is also a lot healthier to consume because it is raw and has great vitamins and minerals. By buying local honey, it is supporting beekeepers and individuals will invest in more quality and healthier honey. The second solution is habitat conservations, which are specific for certain plants and animals that are endangered.
This will ensure that those species who are endangered have a safe space to thrive since there are so many areas that can be toxic to honey bees. Habitat loss is something that has already started to affect honey bees with more harmful problems attacking their existence. Planting flowers have had a positive impact for honey bees in the past, so dedicating conservation could only be even more beneficial. Habitat conservations have had a positive impact in helping endangered species by ensuring that their species does not go extinct and keeping them healthy. The third solution is not using pesticides, which is vital for the health and life of honey bees. “Eric Mussen, a honey bee expert at the University of California at Davis estimates that ten percent of bee deaths are due to pesticides (Jacobson 87). Things like pesticides and insecticides are toxic to these creatures, which can also have an extreme effect on the colony if even one worker bee comes in direct contact and carries harmful pollen or nectar. “Insecticide exposure can reduce pollinator populations quickly and recovery to preexposure levels can require years” (Xerces Society 22).
Although there are some individuals that switched to nonlethal pesticides, this is also harmful to bees “nonlethal pesticide doses can impair pollinators, alter their behavior, movement, growth, reproduction, and immune response to parasites and pathogens (Xerces Society 22). Caring for a garden that helps attract honey bees it is important to learn proper gardening techniques from an official book or an expert and invest in flowers that are specific to honey bees and will do well in the area. Proper garden care is essential to the health of bees considering, “honey bees are affected by a large number of parasites and pathogens” (Oldroyd 1196). To create a healthy honeybee garden things such as picking a safe location, maintenance of the garden and flowers, allowing access to clean water will help encourage honeybees. “Nutrition has been identified as a major issue in honey bee health, as honey bee nutritional stress can exacerbate other stressors, increasing sensitivity to pesticides, and susceptibility to pathogens” (Dolezal, et al. 2), which why the nutrition and health of a honey bee are so necessary.
The fourth and most important solution is awareness and education on the issue because before any of the other solutions can truly be effective is if there is awareness of the issue. The other solutions are beneficial and crucial for individuals to help in saving the honey bees because if there is no education or awareness fewer individuals will be informed on the issue and how to prevent wiping out the honey bees. This is something society needs to be informed on, not just select individuals. With the awareness, more individuals can have the option of supporting or even start fundraising programs as well as donations, which can help with the future research of this issue (Watson and Stallins 223). “There are many groups and organizations that have already gotten involved in trying to help protect the bees including the USDA, which are trying to address the nutrition problem by making sure that bees have access to a variety of plants” (Science World 17).
Education and awareness play a key factor in colony collapse disorder and the loss of honey bees, it can help change the way individuals think about what they use on their gardens such as pesticides and insecticides and even help create a more habitual garden for them. Although not everybody knows the importance of honey bees, they play a major role for life itself and the fast extermination of their species has already impacted them greatly. Honey bees are not the first pollinators; however, they are the one species that is best at pollination. “The appearance of bees has coincided with the diverse distribution of flowering plants one hundred million years ago” (Xerces Society 12). Honey bees today have more threats to deal with not only with bacteria, global warming, and urbanization but also with less education on the issues.
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