Why bees occupy a critical place in the ecosystem

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Ideas & Debate

Why bees occupy a critical place in the ecosystem


When we talk about bees we think of sweet honey, yet the greatest contribution rarely known of bees is in pollination. The economic, social and environmental value of pollination represents between 10 and 20 times the total value of honey.

By forgetfulness, we can laugh at the idea of ​​World Bee Day. Yet knowledge reminds us that if the bee and other pollinators were eradicated from the face of the world, it would not be long before humanity followed suit.

Bees, small as they are, hold a record as some of wildlife’s hardest workers. To make one kilogram of honey, a bee must visit four million flowers and travel four times the distance around the world. More than 20,000 species of bees exist in the world and therefore bees also contribute significantly to global biodiversity.

The articulated and organized systems among bee colonies and the daily work routine are lessons humanity has always borrowed as an example of the strength of teamwork. The aggressiveness with which these insects protect their environment when disturbed is a clear indication that they value their future and ecosystems.

The daily outings of bees satiate hungry human mouths, ensure the reproduction of crops and renew the face of the planet. Pollinators such as bees and other insects, wasps, birds and bats contribute 35% of total global agricultural production, through their pollination function in 87 of the world’s 115 major food crops.

The price of global crops directly dependent on pollinators is estimated at between $235 and $577 billion per year.

Beyond food, bees and other pollinators also play an important role in providing medicine and indirectly contribute to the production of biofuels, fibers such as cotton and linen, and building materials. It is only with a buzz that they do all these good things for the comfort of mankind.

They produce valuable human food and participate in cross-pollination which ensures that we get quality sweet fruits and plenty of nuts and seeds.

Bees and beekeeping systems go far beyond honey production and contribute to the achievement of many United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Not only do bees produce food, they create jobs. In Kenya, about 100,000 people are directly employed in beekeeping.

The greatest beneficiary of the bee is humanity. Unfortunately, the greatest threat to bee welfare is humanity. By our activities that endanger the life of the bee, hence this day when the globe stops for a moment to greet the bee.

This year’s theme – “Bee Engage: Celebrating the Diversity of Bees and Beekeeping Systems” calls on humanity to honor this great insect by embracing systems that make bees comfortable and extend their lifespans and thus contribute to a better planet.

This day aims to raise awareness of the important role of all other pollinators, including insects, birds, bats and other animals.

To draw the attention of a busy world to the need to protect the busy bee and other pollinators, to remind them that our lives are linked to the works of the bee. These activities include overuse and use of harmful pesticides and fuels, destruction and fragmentation of natural habitats, ecosystem degradation, deforestation and removal of dead trees, climate change and the spread of invasive species.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) owes the achievement of its mandate – Ending Hunger – to this insect and other pollinators.

Whereas 75 percent of the world’s crops that produce fruits and seeds for human consumption depend, at least in part, on pollinators for sustainable production, yield and quality. This is why, over the years, FAO has taken the initiative to raise awareness of the important role played by the bee.

FAO works with government, organisations, civil society and local communities to take action to protect bees and other pollinators.

This was done by supporting capacity development of technical staff and local communities on beekeeping systems, empowering local communities to play an active role in the management, use and protection of forests and environments that provide a natural habitat for bees.

A good example is that local communities in the Kirisia Forest, Mukogodo and Mount Kulal ecosystems are using their traditional knowledge to set up beehives in areas set aside for forest restoration, protecting tree seedlings from elephants and wildlife while contributing to the income and food security of the population. larger community.

The wide range of beekeeping systems and practices in Kenya and around the world reflect the diversity of bees and social, cultural and environmental contexts, and beekeeping provides a direct link between agricultural production systems and wild ecosystems.

Albert Einstein is often credited with saying “If bees disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years to live”. We will all die if we kill the bee and therefore we have no choice but to raise awareness and care for this life giving insect.

This year, World Bee Day celebrations in Kenya will take place at Nyayo Gardens in Nakuru. Several speakers and the public will come together to present the benefits of bees, to learn how to keep bees and how to collectively care for and use this spectacular insect.

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