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In recent years, there have been significant losses among bee colonies, both in France and elsewhere in the world. Over the course of a century, bees have managed to adapt to considerable changes in their environment. Are we now asking too much of them? Their current perilous state obliges us to think seriously about the consequences of their disappearance.
A bee visits… and the flower becomes a fruit
When a bee comes to gather nectar from a flower, it is fertilized by the pollen carried by the bee from bloom to bloom. Then will begin the long process of development that will transform it into a fruit, which in turn will bear the seeds that lead to the germination of new plants. That is how reproduction for many plants works.
The bee is the trigger in this, the catalyst, the indispensable factor for the reproduction of the vast majority of plant species.
A bee visits… and the land becomes fertile
The bee is indispensable for cultivated plants, and this is no less true for wild or semi-wild plants. The forests cannot do without the bee. Meadows, hedgerows and wildernesses only form ecological reserves for wild plants – and as a result provide a habitat for numerous wild animals – thanks to the plant growth that depends on the bee for reproduction.
Does this concern us? Most definitely!
Without bees, there would be no cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pears, apples or plums. Say goodbye to zucchini, green beans, peas, tomatoes; no more almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts; forget chestnuts, acorns, and holly berries at Christmas.
Bees and other pollinating insects are essential for the reproduction and cultivation of most plant species. Their disappearance would lead to total upheaval in food chains and at the very least a significant hike in the cost of agricultural produce. In fact, practically the only crops that could survive without bees are cereals and vines, since around 80% of plant species cannot reproduce without bees.
Does an alternative to the bee exist?
Can mankind consider replacing the bee? Only vanilla is currently artificially pollinated, by hand. Imagine if the price of a green bean rose to that of a vanilla pod, and you begin to form an idea of the economic impact that the disappearance of bees would have.
As an essential factor in maintaining plant biodiversity, bees are now threatened by agricultural practices and the development of new parasites and predators which require special attention.
The bee: a major environmental cause in 2010
The UN having declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity, the bee has become a major environmental cause. Raising awareness of the causes of the decline in bee populations is now a priority.
Named Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the crisis affecting bees is still relatively misunderstood. Its true cause has not been identified, and as for its treatment, we are still at the stage of recommendations and precautionary measures.
It is highly likely that the cause is a range of factors. This means that no theories can be ruled out, and all combinations need to be observed and assessed.
Bee my Friend
The preservation of bees today requires efforts in research that correspond to the ecological and economic threat.
The situation is not yet disastrous, but should we wait until it is before we act? Human activity no doubt plays a major part in bee decline, which makes our relative ignorance of our role all the more unacceptable. The objective of Bee my Friend is to draw on the large pool of good will around this cause to find and implement solutions that will halt the disappearance of bees and other pollinating insects.
Bee my Friend – Bees need you!
Bee my Friend, BmF, BmyF, are all used without distinction for Bee my Friend, a charity constituted under France’s law of 1901, in order to protect bees.