Bees necessary for successful ecosystem

Waning bee population puts world in danger

Erica Beebe

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It’s official. Honey bees have been placed on the endangered species list. Not only one, but seven species have been deemed under threat by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Bees are not the only victims. Animals all over the world continue to become endangered or altogether extinct because of factors like habitat loss, pesticides, wildfires and lack of genetic diversity. Without bees, many plants, including food crops, would die off.

Many people correlate bees with wasps, but they are not the same thing. Honey bees help 90% of wild plants to thrive and grow. TIME magazine referred to bees as the “glue that holds our agricultural system together.” Bees only sting when they feel their hive is in danger, as a defense mechanism. Additionally, when a honey bee stings a person, it cannot pull its stinger back out of the skin. It not only leaves behind its stinger, but because the stinger is attached to many of its other bowels, it has to leave those behind too. Therefore, a bee dies a few minutes after it stings a person.

Considering bees pollinate one third of the national food supply, it is very important that they do not become extinct. According to, the honey bee population in the United States is less than half of what it was during World War II and it continues to drop. While scientists are still investigating the cause of this, they have a few ideas.

Bees are dying from a variety of factors, but humans have had the biggest impact. Everyday, animals and insects lose more of their natural habitat and food sources to urban development. They also cannot pollinate crops if farmers spray them with harmful pesticides. This is disadvantageous to both the bees that die from exposure to pesticides, and the farmers who will have less successful crop production.

Saving the bees is not an easy goal, but it can be done. The bee population can begin to grow once again if more flowers or crops are available as a food source for bees. Promoting the awareness of the dangers of pesticides might also reduce the amount of pesticide use on crops all over the nation. Being aware of the endangerment of bees is the first step in saving them.