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

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.