What Would Happen if Bees Went Extinct

Bee populations have been shrinking for years, and without bees, crops worldwide would suffer, making nuts, fruits, and vegetables more expensive and challenging to produce. Today, the United States only has about 2.6 million honeybee colonies, less than half compared to the 1940s. During the winter of 2022/2023, an estimated 37.4% of managed colonies were lost in the United States.

What Would Happen if Bees Went Extinct?

Say Goodbye to Your Cuppa Joe

Or at least pay a lot more for your morning brew! Coffee plants can pollinate themselves but need bee pollination to produce substantial yields. Their flowers are only open for pollination for three or four days, and unpollinated flowers are vulnerable to disease.

35% of Worldwide Crops Would Suffer

Some of your favorite foods would disappear or become rare and expensive, including berries, chocolate, apples, pears, pumpkins, avocado, onions, cucumbers, and cabbage. Almonds depend entirely on bees for pollination. Each year, beekeepers from around the country travel to California almond farms, bringing more than 31 billion honeybees to pollinate the almond trees. California produces 80% of the world’s almonds; those California crops alone need 1.4 million bee colonies yearly.

Did you know bees are so valuable yet scarce that people are stealing hives from almond farms in California and selling them at steep prices?! Read more here: Bee Thieves Find Sweet Rewards.

Bye Bye Butter

Cows and sheep eat crops that depend on bees for pollination, such as alfalfa and clover. Dairy would become more expensive without bees as undernourished animals don’t produce as much milk. If bee populations drop, the dairy industry will struggle to produce cheese, butter, and yogurt.

Lose Cotton Clothing

We’d lose our favorite cotton-based clothing without our precious pollinators. Cotton requires eight honeybee colonies per hectare – over 2,000 per square mile! The material is used to make jeans, t-shirts, underwear, coats, towels, and sheets.

High Level of Food Insecurity

Reduced crop yields threaten the more than 820 million already undernourished people worldwide. Many nuts, fruits, and vegetables would become scarce, and people would need to eat more starches like rice, corn, and potatoes.

Threats to Bees

Scientists are still trying to figure out precisely what is killing our bee populations, but the following are a few potential causes for bee population decline:

  • Sickness: New viruses and a fungal gut parasite are killing bees worldwide. American Foulbrood, a bacterial disease, is affecting US honeybees and has developed a resistance to antibiotics that beekeepers once used to prevent it.
  • Parasites: Hives can be invaded by parasitic mites. During the winters from 1995 to 2001, mites decimated bees across the northern US, wiping out entire beekeeping operations. Today, many mites are resistant to pesticides.
  • Humans: Our activities can stress out bee colonies to the point of collapse. Bees can’t lead healthy lives consuming just one type of food, so as more farms expand for miles and miles of the same crop, bees have to fly farther to get the nutrition they need.
  • Pesticides: Some pesticides sprayed on crops are poisonous to bees and have been directly linked to their population collapse, so the US Environmental Protection Agency banned twelve pesticides harmful to bees in 2019.

Plants That Need Bees

Let’s split this up into three categories based on the necessity of bee pollination:

  • Essential: Honeybee pollination is vital for kiwis, passion fruit, rowanberries, watermelons, squash (including pumpkins, gourds, and zucchinis), macadamia nuts, and Brazil nuts.
  • Great: Bee pollination is of great importance for cashews, turnips, cucumbers, fennels, apples, mangos, avocados, apricots, plums, almonds, peaches, pears, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
  • Modestly Helpful: Crops that don’t NEED bee pollination but would be helpful include eggplants, sesame, elderberries, pomegranates, sunflowers, cotton, strawberries, coffee plants, coconuts, chestnuts, mustard, and okra.

How You Can Help

Bee Master of Las Vegas says it in our name: we are masters of everything about bees. We provide safe, live bee removal in the Las Vegas Valley, but we also provide information like the above to help you become more educated about bees and what you can do to help save the bees! If you need bee or wasp removal, call us today!

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