I found this agent of pollination, bee, dead in my compound on a faithful morning and this question lingered through my mind:
What killed this bee?
I felt very sad about this as I thought of the impact of bees in food production; most farmers are oblivious of this and I find it very crucial to write this piece to enlighten farmers about bee pollination and its importance in food production.
Bees are social insects that are commercially known for honey production. By the virtue of honey production, beekeeping has become a global business because honey has been termed an essential commodity.
Honey is very important and of great benefits to human just like the importance of bees in food production. Aside from the soil factors, bees also play a prominent role in the production of food.
One of the characteristics of bees is the gathering of nectar and pollen from flowers within the environment. These nectar and pollen serve as food for bees. The process of gathering nectar and pollen aids an important aspect in the physiology of plants.
That is pollination. More than one-third of the world food production is dependent on bee pollination. Pollination is the transfer of pollen or pollen grain produced by the male reproductive to the female reproductive organ for the production fertilized ovule which later results to the fruit we eat as food.
Bees and flowers relationship is a symbiotic one. The movement of the pollen is aided by several agents called pollinators; they are bees, birds, butterfly; and even wind. The process of picking nectar by the bees results in the exchange of the pollen; which results in the production of crop consumed by man.
Increase in the population of bees will result to increase in bee pollination and conversely increase in food production; same also, a decrease in the population of bees will lead to the decrease in the production of food. The latter is the prevailing situation in the world.
The population of bees is decreasing every year and the effect is the drop in the production of food globally. In the US, bee pollination adds more than $15 billion on the value on crop annually. Statistics have shown that the global population increases annually; this necessitates the increase in food production, and not the reverse, to cater for the feeding of the new generation.
Causes of the decrease in bee population.
Truly, technology has aided food production by the inventions of different techniques and equipment to aid food production. However, its environmental effects are worrisome; one of these is the decrease in the population of bees. The system of agriculture we adopt is quite unfavorable to the well-being and survival of bees.
The use of agro-chemicals, in form of herbicides and pesticides, has greatly affected the activities of bees. Using the insecticide as a case study, research has shown that every batch of pollen a honeybee collects has at least 6 detectable pesticides in it, hence, serving as poison to them.
Also, early cultivation uses natural fertilizers, like clover and alfalfa to improve the yield of the crop. These natural fertilizers also serve as good nutritious food for bees. However, we now use the synthetic fertilizers which are in turn detrimental to the well-being of the bees.
Bees are dying because of environmental changes such as bush burning, industrialization, and new agricultural practices.
Our lives without the bees
Since bee pollination is an important process to aid the production of food and the bees to carry out this process, free of charge, are almost going on extinction, humans are now paid to do the work of pollination. This sounds ridiculous but it is indeed a lucrative source of income. However, it is not efficient due to the limitation of the activity of the personnel carrying out this process.
The quality of the food we have is gradually reducing, because of the way and manner of the pollination process. We must ensure the process of beekeeping is sustained to secure the global growth of food production. Bees can be kept safe within this environment or farm by planting bright-colored flowers, adoption of organic farming and a halt in bush burning.
This is to support the campaign of beekeeping and shun any agricultural system that is hostile to the environment.
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