We hear a lot of talk about how important bees are for the world, but just how essential are they? Simply put, the work that bees do accounts for a large portion of agriculture and food production, which directly affects humans at a global level. As much as one in every three bites of food consumed around the world is made possible by pollinators, bees in particular, and their extinction would cause a heavy food shortage. Bees are the most invaluable species on the planet.
Not only is the humble bee an incredible pollinator, responsible for helping the growth of some of our favourite treats including coffee and chocolate, but it’s the only insect in the world to produce food that humans can eat.
Bees’ population is decreasing rapidly for two primary reasons: climate change and increased use of pesticides. Pesticides might protect food in the short-term, but they kill off bees by the millions, whose interaction with crops is essential in the long-term. As the snow melts earlier on in the year in some parts of the world because of climate change, the flowers bloom earlier, affecting the bees’ schedule and resulting in many flowers going without being pollinated.
All of these factors and more have an adverse effect on bees, who are not only responsible for crop pollination but the reproduction of alfalfa and clover, which is what feeds cattle and other grazing animals. This means that without bees, the availability of milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream would dwindle significantly.
So what does that leave in our meals? Fairmont.com put together an interactive graphic that reveals what our everyday meals would look like if bees went extinct and even breaks down how bees affect each missing food item. For example, for breakfast alone, almonds (in granola), blueberries, coffee, butter (on toast), and orange juice would no longer be available for an everyday breakfast if bees were to die off.