The humble bumble bee must rank as one of the most vilified creatures on Earth by humans. As children we are told to be careful not to be stung by one, yet they only do so because it is frightened or protecting the colony – most of us would lash out if someone tried to attack or those we love too! They then suffer the tragedy of dying for protecting those they love, because a mammal’s skin is so thick it can remove the stinger back out and it’s organs are torn out in stinging. It would be like the police shooting us for defending our homes as we attacked an intruder to our homes.
Then their role in pollinating plants is often underestimated what they bring to us. Many of us love to see flowers blooming around us and almost around in the spring air but do we ever thank the bee’s role in this sight of colourful beauty? Probably not. In the UK it has been estimated that we have lost 97% of our flower-rich grassland since the 1930s. Furthermore, bees account for 80% of all insect pollination of plants at least 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of our wild plants to thrive due to pollination from them. That is like us humans taking over 80% of the world, using at least 30% of the available animals a food source and killing 90% of the wild animals as do not bring us any “benefits” (i.e. food or companionship).
You may think that last comparison is silly or crazy, but is it so far out? When we have human greed by materialistic goods increasing, a new iPhone or designer handbag having more importance than hills and rivers. We want to put a price on everything we can see or hear. In the UK alone two species have become extinct in the last 80 years and others have declined dramatically. Maybe it’s about time we thanked them for their help in giving us peas to strawberries, rather than reaching for pesticides or growing genetically modified crops so do not appeal to insects before they are no more and once we saw dancing with the spring flowers.
© Fi S. J. Brown