Why Bee Extinction Would Mean the End of Humanity
If bees didn’t exist, humans wouldn’t either.
Out of the 100 crop species that provide us with 90% of our food, 70% are pollinated by bees. It’s that simple. Bees are the primary initiators of reproduction among plants, as they transfer pollen from the male stamens to the female pistils.
Fig. The pollination process
Since 2006, the population of bees has declined considerably. Pesticides, disease, parasites, and poor weather due to global warming have played a major role in this worrying decline.
How Will This Affect the Earth?
If bees went extinct, there would be a massive decline in the production of crops. Although crops like rice and wheat don’t require insect pollination, can people survive by eating rice and bread all their life?
Herbivores, who depend on certain plant species, will be affected first. They would go extinct if plants ceased to exist. For example, many cattle used for milk and meat depend on alfalfa and lupins, both of which depend on insect pollination. If the cow’s food supply declines, then meat and milk production will decrease. This will seriously affect the human diet.
Due to the declining population of herbivores, tertiary carnivores will begin to suffer immediately. The only beneficiaries from this scenario would be scavengers (eagles, vultures, ravens etc.)
Cotton is very reliant on pollination. The disappearance of bees will lead to a huge setback in cotton production, as it will significantly reduce our choices in clothes (good luck enduring the humidity of the tropical regions while wearing nylon attire).
Since most plants would be unable to grow, grasslands would become barren and large-scale desertification will take place. Landslides would wipe out villages in one sweep. Ultimately, Earth will become one large plastic-laden desert.
Less production of food crops will ultimately lead to worldwide famine. Hunger and poverty will be very common. Freshwater will start drying up as well as, as there will be less trees for water retention to occur. With less water and diminishing food, humans will die of thirst and starvation. Fertility would also suffer a setback, followed by a drop in the rate of reproduction. Ultimately, we wouldn’t be able to sustain and would be forced into extinction within a few hundred years.
Unless scientists build robotic bees to do the jobs that honeybees once did, we’re ultimately doomed. And although this isn’t the most serious repercussion, we would never again taste that sweet, savory honey that we forcibly steal from honeybees every day.
What is the Reason for their Decline?
Since the end of World War 2, the use of pesticides in agriculture has increased exponentially. This intense use of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids (a relatively new class of insecticides that affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death), has had a major role in the bees’ decline. When bees are exposed to neonicotinoids, they go into a shock and forget their way home (sort of like the insect version of Alzheimer’s).
Along with pesticides, parasites known as Varrao mites (also called Varrao destructors) are also responsible for their death. The Varrao can only reproduce in a bee colony. They are blood-sucking parasites that affect adult and young bees equally. The disease inflicted by these mites can result in bees losing legs or wings, essentially killing them.