Imagine that you have to motivate someone to save the bees–to communicate bee benefits. What would you say?
I’ll admit I am not a big fan of educational material that pro-bee groups often use. Goodness, I am on their side, but their slogan goes something like this, “Did you know that 1/3 of the food on our dinner plate requires a bee?” Yes, I see what they are getting at. It could be true, depending on what is on your plate. And it offers an easy-to-remember graphic.
But this figure of “1/3 of your plate” is misleading, for it ends up implying a volume of food–not the type of food that you eat. You might be thinking, “Well if the bees leave this Earth, I will just be skinny.”
But bees pollinate most of our fruits and vegetables. Interested in eating nutritious foods with lots of vitamins and minerals that will help you stay healthy? You need bees for that. Want to eat delicious, vibrant food? You need bees for that.
Without bees, then we are left with mostly the wind-pollinated plants, such as wheat, corn, and oats. Can you imagine subsisting on just these with maybe small amounts of meat? How dull and unhealthy. Not a great recipe for our survival.
The bees give us health and life.
Here are my specific 75 reasons to save the bees. What would you miss?
What the Bees Give Us
Here is my list of bee benefits (both honey and native bees). We need their pollination services to either produce an edible fruit, or to create seeds that will reproduce the plant.
- alfalfa (our livestock animals eat alfalfa)
- beans (some)
- brazil nut
- Brussels sprout
- cashew nut
- carambola (star fruit)
- oranges and other citrus
- passion fruit
- peppers (all varieties, chili, sweet bell peppers etc.)
- rapeseed, canola
- seeds (such as sesame, caraway)
- spices (think allspice, coriander, cardamom, fennel seed etc.)
- squashes (all types, including pumpkins, winter squashes, summer squashes)
- sunflower seeds
- Beeswax (made only by honey bees) is an incredible product. Beeswax candles are healthier than paraffin, burn brighter, and remove toxins from the air. It also has a range of uses, from skin and health care products to smoothing a sticky drawer.
- honey (only from honey bees)
- bee pollen (only from honey bees)
- propolis (found in the hive of honey bees, this sticky resin is thought to have health properties)
- Ecosystem health. Bees pollinate many of the plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees found in the wild. This enables the plants to produce fruit and seeds for wild animals, while also setting seed for the next generation of plants. Without their pollination services, many plant and animal species would die. Our ecosystems would look far different without bees.
And to give you a sense of how our grocery selections might change without bees, see these photos from a dairy aisle.