In recent years, our honey bee population has significantly decreased, especially in rural areas. Many believe this is due to the increased use of pesticides and chemicals in farming. The bees dying could cause elimination of many plants that are important for our ecosystem, as well as some of our favourite veggies and fruits.
Why are honey bees so important?
Some plants can pollinate on their own, some by wind and others by animals and insects, including bees. The honey bee is an important part of pollination of plants as they cover 1/3 of all pollination.
What is pollination you ask?
Pollination is the transfer of the male pollen grains to the female stigma in flowers of the same species. As the bee flies from plant to plant, it transfers the pollen which is stuck to their little hairs and to the sticky surface of the stigma. This allows the plant blossom to produce fruit and vegetables.
What will happen if pollination doesn’t occur?
If pollination does not occur, the plant will lose the ability to reproduce and flower blossoms. Low levels of pollination could result in lower yields, smaller fruits and an increase in diseases. If pollination continues to decline, all flowering plants and creatures that they support will disappear and/or become very expensive due to limited crop.
More and more cities are beginning to incorporate bee hives into city life. For some reason, bees are surviving more in the cities away from rural areas. Toronto Bee Rescue started in 2011, taking unwanted bee hives in homes and work areas and placing them in a protected safe environment. The rescue is working hard to keep our bees alive to pollinate our plants.
Sara and Peter are a couple who started the Toronto Bee Rescue. Together they are looking to increase their bee hives and continue to take care of these precious and valuable creatures. Click here to see more on their story and please help them build more bee colonies. Together we can save the bees!
You can learn more about the importance of Bees here on Ted Talks