Do we truly understand what will happen if bees die out?

Recently, Morgan Freeman renovated one of his ranches into a bee sanctuary. Hearing this got me thinking—we all know bees are in danger, but do people completely understand what will happen to the Earth if the bees die out?

“U.S. beekeepers said 40 percent of their hives, also called colonies, died unexpectedly during the year that ended March 31, according to a survey released Wednesday by researchers from Auburn University and the University of Maryland. That’s up from 33 percent a year earlier,” according to a Bloomberg article.

AsapScience uploaded a video titled “What Happens If All The Bees Die?” talking about what would happen if the species went extinct.

The video describes how bees are responsible for pollinating 70 percent of the world crops. That translates into about $200 billion in revenue for food producers.

The video then explains that viruses, mites and parasite are some reasons why so many bees have died off, but scientists are now pointing towards a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids. These are used to kill off anything that might eat the crops; however, they can also affect bees’ central nervous systems.

Since nectar is gathered on the body of the bee, bees will bring neonicotinoids back to the hive and infect the rest of the colony. Issues such as cold weather are also to blame for the decrease in the bee population.

If this keeps up, the Earth is going to lose plenty of its crops. The video uses the example of almond plants. The nuts are used to feed cows and chickens; however, the loss in bees will result in far fewer almonds. With fewer almonds, there will be no food to feed these farm animals, and if they are not fed, the animals will perish.

With fewer cows and chickens, cheese, milk, egg and meat production will begin to decrease. It’s a horrible chain reaction that starts with the bees dying. The loss of coffee beans, dairy-free milk and cotton are also used to show the true horror of a bee-less world.

Vanessa Hernandez, a freshman kinesiology major, shared her thoughts on the situation.

“It is a problem, but I also think it is a difficult situation,” Hernandez said. “I have a beehive in my backyard, and we have no idea how to get rid of it. Getting rid of them would be expensive, but we also don’t want to kill them.”

If you find a beehive in your backyard, avoid using a spray that will kill the bees or throwing rocks at it. Instead, contact a local beekeeper, and see if he or she can remove the bees safely. Many beekeepers will not charge for removing hives, so there is absolutely no reason to kill the bees within.

Dominique Butler, a freshman kinesiology major, said she was against killing bees.

“It is a crucial matter, and it needs to be taken more seriously,” Butler said. “We need to have a conversation on how to handle the situation. There are better ways of dealing with bees than killing them. If we can make a movement to save the turtles and other animals, then we can also save the bees.”

As a state, we banded together to ban plastic straws, to keep the environment safe and to prevent sea turtles from dying. Why can’t we do the same thing for bees? If we did it once, we can do it again.

Hope Esquivel, a freshman biology major, hates bees but admits they have an important role.

“I literally hate bees,” Esquivel said. “We seem to view them as dangerous or scary, but they’re highly important. We treat them like they are useless by killing them or their homes, but they play such an important role in our world.”

Yes, bees can sting, and many people are allergic to them, but we still need to preserve their lives. We can’t let them go extinct.

Here are some ways you can help save the bee population:

  • Avoid using any pesticide spray control in your gardens. That spray may kill the bees.
  • Plant some flowers in your backyard.
  • Only buy locally made honey or get it from a farmers market. Buying it in person, you can find out if the honey was made safely and without harming the bees.
  • Avoid weeding your garden. Dandelions and other weeds are a good source of food for the bees.
  • If you discover a beehive on your property, call a local beekeeper.
  • If you see a bee or a hive, keep to yourself. Bees only sting if they feel threatened. If it comes towards you, avoid swatting it with your hand; just stand completely still until it flies away.