Be nice to bees…or else

Published: September 10, 2010

The bumble bee is in danger of becoming extinct

This morning I was lucky enough to encounter some bumble bees buzzing around a stunning wild plant.

I love the bumblebee’s cuddly appearance. These fuzzy bees are usually 3/4 to 1 1/2 inch long and have yellow and black bands on them (although this property changes in some species.)

If you ever catch sight of a bumble bee hovering over a flower, feeding on its nectar and collecting pollen as it hovers from one flower to the other take some time to pause and notice the little creature that is quietly keeping this world green.

Unlike honey bees, bumble bees are not honey producers but they are social servers upon whom cross-pollination is greatly dependent. Although nature has created more than 200 species of bumble bees, but sadly they are facing a threat of extinction. Einstein believed that without bumblebees human race can extinct in four years. According to a research conducted in 2007 by the Food and Farming department of UK, the honey bee will be extinct in UK in the next 8 years. Sadly, bumblebees are also facing a similar threat.

Farmers around the world have  good reason to be alarmed as do we all. We are interlinked with bumblebees through the complex ecological system. If the bumblebees die, there will be no pollination. If there will be no pollination, there will not be any flower. If there will be no flower, there will be no crops. If there are no flowers and crops, there will be no insects and birds. Without insects dead plants and dead animals will not decay and thus fertile soil will also disappear. Where will we be?

We might end up eating grass and hunting fish. Food scarcity will result in even greater challenges. In short, I don’t think that floods, aliens or meteors will bring an end to the life on Earth. But I think this tiny creature, the bumble bee can become a reason for human extinction.

The only thing we can do is to take care of this wonderful insect created by God so that in return it takes care of us.
How can we thank our humble friend?

1. Plant flowers with rich nectar.

2. If you do not have flowers – make your own nectar! Make a water (70%) and sugar(30%) mixture and fill a little container such as bottle cap with it and put it between plants. Bees will appreciate it!
3.  Bees can’t resist apple, cherry, plum and pear flowers. They love hollyhocks, geraniums, poppies, roses, laburnum, corn flower, delphinium and sunflowers. Some herbs will also tempt them to visit your garden. Plant sage, rosemary, thyme, chives and lavender.

4. Avoid chemical pesticides.

5. Bumble bees would love to have a home inside a little hole in a quite corner of the garden.

6. Make your garden bumblebee-friendly by simply planting some flowers!

zahra.ali

Zahra Ali

A freelance writer, gardening teacher and environmentalist. She has been spreading the message of natural living through her blog 'Crops in Pots' since 2008

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • ASQ

    Nice informative piece!!!!Recommend

  • Taimoor Hassan

    Nice Piece of writing. Informative and motivatedRecommend

  • Sam A

    One of the most refreshing pieces I have read lately.Recommend

  • faraz

    Few plants are specifically adapted for bumble bee pollination. Cereal crops belong to grass family and they do not rely on pollinators. Microbes cause decomposition of plants and animals. And the great Einstein never said anything about bees. Recommend

  • http://munzee72.wordpress.com/ Munira Zoomkawala
  • http://Www.cropsinpots.blogspot.com Zahra Ali

    Dear Faraz,
    If you have ever made compost you must have seen that insects play major role in decaying organic matter.
    Its true that wind pollinated plants will survive but question is how much of such plants meet our requirement of healthy diet? How much will be there without fertile soil?
    Its a known fact that we wnt last for long without bees.Recommend

  • http://Www.cropsinpots.blogspot.com Zahra Ali

    Thanks for your comments :)
    Munira thanks for sharing… Loved reading it. Although I find bumble bees absolutely adorable but at the same time I am bit scared of the bees. I like to keep a safe distance.Recommend

  • Sarah Zaidi

    wow. i never thought of the bees that way! next time i see one, i wont scare it away :) Recommend

  • http://Www.cropsinpots.blogspot.com Zahra Ali

    Ya but dnt be too comfortable. If it feels a threat, it can sting you!Recommend

  • Omais

    You’r doing good efforts for such relaxed & sothing write ups,,,

    Keep it up,,! need more..Recommend

  • rehan

    Good I found you Zahra.Please advice.Im in Sudan flying helicopters.Average temperature is around 25degreeC.Green tropical vegetation all around.Not very humid,but at times sun can be scorching!Now what has been happening since past month is that thousands of bees are found on the helicopter in the morning(and they stay there!)They concentrate around the Main Rotor hub or the Tail rotor hub.Why only there.?They are concealed..can’t say whether they have made a nest there.Even after flying,once we land,they are still lingering around.We sprayed Kerosene oil..but no use.That part of the helicopter is warmer..can it be the reason?One fixed wing aeroplane had to abort its take off because the airspeed indicator wasn’t showing any build up of speed.On investigating,bees were found inside the Pitot Tube(A metal projection which measures differences in pressure and gives readings as the Airspeed..it also gets Warmer when switched on). ..For us they are a flight safety hazard!We wish to be BUMMBLE BEE FREE!! Would appreciate a reply if possible.Thanx.Recommend