They’re cute. They’re fuzzy. And they’re certainly buzzy.
But have you ever stopped to consider just how vital bees are to our everyday lives?
These tiny creatures may seem small and insignificant, but they are, in fact, a crucial part of our ecosystem.
Not only do they help to maintain biodiversity, but they also play a significant role in the production of most of the food we eat.
So what makes them so important? And what can we do to help them?
Let’s take a closer look.
Why Are Bees Important for Humans?
Let’s give a shoutout to bees and learn more about why they are important for us humans.
1. They Pollinate Many Food Plants That Are Pollinator-Dependent
One of the primary reasons why bees are crucial to human survival is pollination.
Bees are responsible for pollinating several types of food plants that are pollinator-dependent, such as apples, almonds, watermelons, cherries, blueberries, and squashes.
Without bees, these plants would not be able to produce food, which would have disastrous consequences for our food supply.
So if you’re enjoying a slice of apple pie or a bowl full of blueberries, know that wouldn’t be possible at all without the bees.
2. They Provide a Source of Income for Many People
Apart from being essential for our food supply, bees also provide a source of income for many people.
Beekeepers harvest honey from bees and sell it for all kinds of different purposes.
Beekeeping is not only a profitable business, but it also helps to maintain bee populations and promote biodiversity.
Without this kind of symbiotic relationship, many people would have to find a different line of work.
3. Let’s Hear it for the Honey
Bees are also responsible for producing one of the most delicious and nutritious foods out there: honey.
Honey has been used for centuries as a natural sweetener, but its benefits go beyond its taste.
Honey contains antioxidants, has antibacterial properties, and can even soothe a sore throat.
Plus, it has a long shelf life, meaning it doesn’t need any preservatives to stay fresh—only the love and care of the bees who made it.
Bees and Honey Are Important for Treating Certain Medical Conditions
In addition to its many nutritional properties, honey has also been used in traditional medicine to help treat various conditions.
Its antibacterial properties have been shown to aid in wound healing, while its anti-inflammatory effects make it an excellent remedy for sore throats and coughs.
Honey also has prebiotic properties, which means it can help keep our gut healthy and happy.
4. We Need Bees for Livestock
Bees don’t just provide us with food directly—they also provide food for livestock.
Many of the crops that bees pollinate, such as alfalfa, clover, and soybeans, are used as feed for livestock.
Without bees, these crops would not grow, and therefore, the food supply for livestock would be limited.
This would have a domino effect on the entire food chain, ultimately affecting humans as well.
5. They’re a Key Part of History, Particularly From an Archaeological Perspective
Bees have been used by humans for thousands of years.
From ancient Egypt to the medieval Europeans, bees have been an essential part of our history.
Beeswax was used to make candles, and honey was used both as a sweetener and for medicinal purposes.
Bees have been depicted in cave paintings, and artifacts such as ancient pottery depict beekeeping.
By preserving bees, we are also preserving an important part of our history.
ALSO READ: Types of Bees You Need to Know About
6. The Financial Impact
Bees are also essential for the economy.
According to the United Nations, bees contribute more than $200 billion to the global economy each year.
This is due in large part to the pollination of crops that support the agricultural industry.
Without bees, the economy would suffer greatly, causing a ripple effect throughout society.
7. Ensuring Ecological Biodiversity
Bees also play a crucial role in maintaining ecological biodiversity.
By visiting different plants, they help to cross-pollinate and transfer genetic material between species, which promotes genetic diversity.
In turn, this leads to healthier ecosystems and a more robust variety of plants.
If bees were to become extinct, the knock-on effects would be catastrophic for our environment.
8. Don’t Forget About the Wax
Beeswax has numerous uses, from making candles to being used in skincare products and cosmetics.
It is an all-natural wax that is free from harsh chemicals, making it an ideal ingredient in environmentally friendly products.
Also, beeswax has antibacterial properties that can help protect the skin, particularly against acne.
9. Without Bees…No More Coffee or Chocolate
And here’s the most important part.
The coffee and the chocolate. Can you imagine a day without a cup of coffee to start the morning?
Without bees, we would not be able to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures, such as coffee and chocolate.
Bees help pollinate coffee plants, and while coffee is not a necessity, it is a beverage that millions of people rely on to start their day.
Bees also pollinate cocoa, which is used to make chocolate.
Without bees, the chocolate industry would suffer greatly, as would the millions of people around the world who enjoy this sweet indulgence.
Can We Live Without Bees?
We’ve heard all the buzz about bees now—and their importance in our ecosystem.
But what happens if we lose them?
Studies have shown that the world’s insect population has decreased by 45% in the past 40 years, and many of these are crucial pollinators such as bees.
So, can we live without them?
As you now know, bees are responsible for pollinating over one-third of the world’s crops, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Without them, we would have a significant decrease in food production, leading to food shortages and higher prices.
In fact, some of our favorite foods, like apples, almonds, and avocados, would likely completely disappear from our diets.
So, in short, no—we cannot live without bees.
The decline in the bee population can be attributed to several factors.
Habitat loss, pesticide exposure, and climate change are all contributing to the decline.
Bees need a diverse range of flowers to pollinate, but with the increasing land development, they’re finding it harder to find the flowers they need to survive.
Pesticides used in agriculture are also impacting bee numbers.
Insecticides and herbicides can kill bees or cause harm to their nervous system, making it difficult for them to navigate and find their way back to their hive.
The climate change crisis is also affecting the bees’ life cycle, making it harder for them to adjust to the changing seasons, which has a catastrophic impact on their survival rates.
The good news is that many countries are beginning to take note of the importance of bees and are taking measures to protect them.
The European Union has imposed a ban on certain pesticides harmful to bees, while Australia offers support to farmers to encourage them to create bee-friendly habitats on their land.
Curious about what you can do? Just keep reading.
How to Help Bees Survive and Thrive
We now know just how important bees are as part of our ecosystem—yet their population is in rapid decline.
While some of the reason for their demise has to do with natural causes (such as infections), the vast majority of bee deaths can be attributed to human activities.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that you can help your bumbling buddies survive—and thrive, even!—by making a few simple changes at home.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Plant Bee-Friendly Vegetation
The easiest and most effective way to help bees is by planting bee-friendly vegetation in your garden.
Bees rely on nectar and pollen as their primary food source, so planting flowers, herbs, and shrubs that produce them is essential.
Some great options are clover, dandelions, sunflowers, and a variety of wildflowers, so use these to create a garden that is dense with plants.
Try to sustain a bloom throughout the year by planting a mixture of early, mid, and late-season bloomers.
Keep in mind that different bee species have different preferences, so it’s good to have a mixture of plant types.
If you can, focus on growing native plants.
While bees can and do feed on plants that are not native to their region, they’re more likely to feast on local favorites.
2. Avoid Pesticide and Herbicide Use
Pesticides and herbicides are a significant culprit in the decline of bee populations.
These chemicals are designed to kill, and even low levels of exposure can have severe effects on bees, from disrupting their communication to causing them to forget their way home.
So, whenever possible, avoid using these chemicals in your garden and yards and look for alternative methods, such as manually removing weeds or using natural methods such as diatomaceous earth and compost to reduce pest problems.
3. Preserve Meadows
Many wild bees depend on natural habitats, such as meadows, to survive.
They build nests in the ground, use the soil to pupate, and rely on wildflowers for food.
Sadly, meadows across the country are declining due to urban development and changes in land management.
Therefore, it’s essential to protect and preserve natural habitats as much as possible.
You can help by supporting conservation efforts or even setting aside a patch of land to create a simple meadow for bees to thrive.
4. Raise Awareness About the Importance of Bees
Another way to support bees is to raise awareness about their importance to the environment.
Many people don’t realize the crucial role bees play in pollinating crops and delivering food to our tables.
To help change that, you can start by talking to your friends and family about bees and sharing information on social media.
You could even volunteer with local conservation groups to help educate your community.
5. Buy Local Honey
Here’s a mission we can really get behind! One fun way to support bees is by buying local honey.
By purchasing honey from local beekeepers, you’re supporting the work of beekeepers and helping to keep the local bee population healthy.
Plus, local honey can taste amazing, and many people find it can help with allergies. It’s a win-win situation!
6. If You Must Use Chemicals, Spray in Windless Weather and Late at Night
Unfortunately, sometimes chemicals are necessary to control pests or diseases in the garden.
If you must use them, try to do it when bees aren’t around to avoid spraying them.
Apply chemicals late at night or very early in the morning when bees have returned to their hives and aren’t active.
Choose a calm, windless day since bees don’t fly in strong winds anyway.
7. Create Nesting Sites for Solitary Bees
Did you know that not all bees live in hives, like honeybees?
Many species of native bees are solitary, meaning they don’t have a queen or build hives.
Instead, they lay their eggs in hollow tubes or stems, like reeds or bamboo.
These bees are incredibly important pollinators, and they’re often overlooked in conservation efforts.
To help them, you can create nesting sites for them in your garden, like hanging a bee hotel or drilling holes in a piece of untreated wood.
Why Are Bees Important: Final Thoughts
As you can see, there are many ways we can help bees survive and thrive in our world.
From planting bee-friendly flowers and avoiding chemicals in the garden to raising awareness and buying local honey, every little effort counts.
By doing our part, we can ensure that these vital insects continue to pollinate our crops, our gardens, and our natural areas.
So, take action now, and join the fight to save the bees!