Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bees: The Most Important Animal In The World

What's that? No, they aren't important because of that future mutant evil bee army I've been planning over the years. (Although it may be a prime contributor) The "Bee" can be considered one of the most important animals on planet earth. Is it because of their rich social structure? Nope. Perhaps it's because of they're "hive mind" intelligence? Sorry, it's not that either.

Actually, a major contributor.

Bees play one of the most important roles in human society, more then we know. If you've ever enjoyed the activity of eating, you should generally thank the bees.

So if you enjoy continued existence, read on! If you don't like it, you're free to leave. Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Bees are directly linked to over 1/3 of the entire world's food supply; They are responsible for pollination of hundreds of essential food sources in the world. I'm not talking about crackers and cookies, I'm talking the important stuff.

Think about all the things that require pollination; Chances are that the Bees allow hundreds of various foods to be sold at relatively cheap costs. Can't think of any? I'll help you: Almonds, Apples, Blueberries, Watermelons, Cherries, Onions, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Various Chili Peppers, Tangerine, Coconuts, Hazelnuts, Cucumber, Lemons, Limes, Carrots, Strawberries, Cotton, Walnuts, Sunflowers, Various Beans, Apricots, Plums, Pomegranates, Pears, Black Berries, Sesame, Eggplant, Cocoa, Cranberries, Vanilla, Tomato, and Grapes.

I practically listed every food in existence right? Imagine a world without apples, strawberries, chocolate ice cream, and grapes? Unimaginable! All of these delicious foods, all courtesy of the Bees.

So you gotta admit, they are somewhat important.

Anytime Joe, anytime.

"How do they do this whimsical task though?" No, they don't fly around with magic wands casting good will and happiness at flowers, as the flower suddenly bloom into fruits. Although that would surely be impressive.

Bees need food like me and you, their main food source is pollen and nectar, which flowers provide plenty of.  After they locate a flower, they'll do their business, and usually unintentionally collect pollen onto their bodies. As they land on more flowers, they'll spread pollen to hundreds if not thousands of flowers, which allows pollination to occur.

In case you never attended science class, pollination is the process in which pollen is transferred into plants, which allows fertilization, and thereby sexual reproduction to occur.

In order for certain flowers to become delicious fruits and such, it has to go through pollination, otherwise it'll simply live pass its prime and die alone. Perhaps one day, flowers will pick up their roots and shake pollen into each other. But in till then, bees are the way to go.

"They'll put me out of business!"

As some of us annoyingly know, watermelons, apples and other fruits contain seeds. The seeds allow the continuation of that specific species. So if pollination suddenly 'stopped' somehow, the species would go extinct.

It doesn't stop there, humans aren't the only ones to enjoy these hundreds of delicious foods. If the bees disappeared, it would be directly linked to thousands if not millions of extinction of other species that depend on these foods. The world as we know it, would collapse.

Good thing there are more then 20,000 species of bees around the world right? In fact, this isn't a problem we'll ever have to think about since those bees has it taken care of, right?


Bees in general, are disappearing. They're literally picking up and leaving. In the recent years, a sharp increase of the "CCD" Colony Collapse Disorder have been occurring among European Bees, which are one of the most used pollinators today.

In the U.S. alone, thousands of hives are found abandoned and empty almost over night. They simply picked up and left, never to be found again. It's normal every now and then for a single bee or two to leave the hive presumably to die in a ditch somewhere for unknown reasons, but in our case, entire hives of thousands of bees are disappearing left and right.

Although, in many abandoned bee hives, there was a larger presence of capped broods. Which may show that the bees waited in till the young bees were somewhat capable to survive without them, before leaving home forever.

Some hives have been reported to have zero trace of where the bees may have gone. Unless they're Jason Borne, or Jack Bauer, there's a problem going on. There aren't any bee bodies in some cases, a lot of the time, they even left the hive with honey and food still stored within the hive. People have found hives in which every single adult bee disappeared without a trace, leaving only the queen and a few babies alone to fend off the enemies around them; Which is unheard of, since bees are born with the instinct to fight to the death to protect the hive/queen. Where have they gone?

"Protect the Queen! lol jk, let's go."

It's been said that if one was to own a "collapsing" hive, to not allow it to combine with a healthy hive, and if one was to find a abandoned hive, they should make sure other bees are unable to access it. Is "CCD" spread from pathogens or social collapse? What's going on?

Although it would be lovely to think that other countries are doing fine, they're not. Places like Germany have reported 80% decrease in bee population in certain hives. Poland, Spain and other countries have all reported similar decline. Bee keepers around the world have reported rates between 25-80 percent of their hives disappearing or dead.

Bees have been a stable species for hundreds of years, they've had no problem adapting to what nature throws at them. Except, only about a few decades ago, bees in hives have began to disappear at the rate of 25% every winter in the America today. About three decades ago, the rate was 5-10 percent. What's going on? Maybe the scientist can tell us.

Maybe they decided to go to Hawaii for vacation, and took a few wrong turns?

Scientist have said that there is not one biological reason for them to die and/or leave. Inspected bee remains from hundreds of abandoned hives result in the same thing, not much is physically wrong with the bee. Although, some people have suggested "stress factors" that may be the reason for the disappearance. While others have said that extreme viruses and/or toxins are contributing for the disappearance. The problem is, not one single virus, drought, climate change, bacteria, microorganism, or fungus can be blamed for the dramatic disappearances in the past few decades. So what is wrong with them?

They just, don't know.

"Hooey! If bees disappeared, we'll simply find other sources of foods! Beef is king, right?!" Really? Let me ask you a question; What do cows eat? If the bees become extinct, we can't simply replace them. We can't mass-produce billions of pollinating insects, and fly around the world letting them loose. If they go extinct, entire ecosystems would become unstable, basically all animals that consume fruits and foods within the "risk factor" would very possibly go extinct; Once those animals die, the animals that depend on the extinct animals would die, leading to a domino effect.

It'll be like this, except with more death and apocalypse.

As pictured from most people today, bees aren't the bad guys here. They aren't the death-bringers of pain as pictured in many peoples mind. The same annoying bee that stung you for setting up your picnic too close to it's hive, is carrying the burden of the world on its back. Perhaps the next time you see a bee buzzing around your head, you shouldn't scream in utter fear as you beat it to death with a rolled up newspaper.

"Omnomnomnomnomnomnomn" - Real quote from European Honey Bee

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