Why are bees important to humans?
Bees and other pollinating insects are important to the entire natural cycle. A very large part of all the food we eat is a result of bee pollination. 70 of the 100 most common food crops are pollinated by bees, for example fruits, vegetables and nuts. Bees are thus super important for the ecosystem, and for producing food for humans.
Besides that, it helps them produce half of all the world's fibers, oils, and other materials. Bees and other pollinating insects are responsible for much of the planting of new trees and plants, many of which in turn are homes and food for other animals. About 90% of all flowering plants on earth need pollinators to survive - including bees.
Bees also produce beeswax, which is a super material that we humans can use for a lot. Beeswax is the very material the bees' hives are made of, and is amazing in many different ways. It is durable, retains heat, is waterproof, and resists bacteria. We humans can therefore use beeswax for a variety of environmentally friendly products. Including soap, candles, lip balm, or as we do, beeswax cloths. You can read more beeswax cloths here (link)
For the sake of the natural cycle, it is therefore very important to support beekeepers (or maybe even become one yourself) so that more bees are raised. This is also why it is important to buy Swedish honey and other by-products. If you buy it from other countries, it does not contribute to more bees being raised in Sweden.
Bees are important because:
- 70 of the 100 most consumed crops are pollinated by bees
- approx. 90% of all flowering plants on earth need pollinators (bees) to survive
- they help produce half of the world's fibers, vegetable oils, and other essentials
- they produce the super material beeswax
In conclusion, it can be stated that bees are absolutely invaluable to the natural cycle. But unfortunately bees are now endangered.
Why are bees endangered?
Bees are mainly threatened with extinction due to the use of pesticides. Pesticides are used on plants and crops to keep pests away, but unfortunately it often affects bees. Bees exposed to larger doses for longer periods of time can have a weakened nervous system, and consequently become paralyzed or die.
Other factors that play a role in why bees are at risk of extinction are drought, air pollution, destruction of natural habitats, lack of nutrition, and global warming.
How would humans be affected if bees became extinct?
People would lose access to a balanced diet. Although some of all the plants and crops humans eat are pollinated by the wind, a significant percentage would be lost without bees. Lots of wild plants would stop multiplying. As these plants are both food and habitat for many other animals, the entire ecosystem would be disrupted. Bees are needed for a functioning ecosystem.
How can you help the bees?
The organization Greenpeace proposes three major measures
- Ban the seven worst pesticides
- Preserve the bees' wild habitat
- Support organic production
Although these are big, important issues, they don't mean much to the average citizen who wants to make a difference. The best thing you as an ordinary citizen can do to support beekeeping is to buy bee-related products from local beekeepers and businesses. For example, you can try to buy locally produced honey.
Another suggestion is to use beeswax cloths instead of plastic wrap. The beeswax cloths we manufacture contain carefully selected organic beeswax from Gotland. It contributes to local beekeeping here on Gotland thriving.
Buying beeswax cloths not only supports beekeeping - it also reduces your plastic use - because you use them instead of plastic wrap. The antibacterial properties of the beeswax also make the food stay fresh longer. Buying beeswax cloths is therefore better both for you and for the environment.