• Erin S.

If plants never get pollinated, what would happen to our food supply?

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants grow. Plants require sunlight, water, oxygen and pollination. And if plants lost the ability to produce seeds, there would be no way they could continue… therefore, by extension, there would be no way we could survive either.

Plants have a symbiotic relationship with bees. In exchange for pollination, bees get food from the plants in the form of nectar. The greater animal kingdom, as well as us humans, reap the benefit of this virtuous cycle.

Unfortunately, climate change severely affects the bee population. First and foremost, bees are losing their homes since colonies are unable to move to cooler areas and create new hives in time. Bee territories have shrunk significantly and that is mainly due to shifting temperatures. Temperatures can not only affect the bees’ territories, it can also affect their health. Flowers produce pollen in warm weather, and the time difference between when the pollen is produced and when the bees can feed on it can make them less likely to survive, reproduce and protect themselves from predators.

Air pollution and droughts could also cause more harm than good to a bee’s health. Surprisingly, air pollution can change the odor of flowers and pollen for bees, thus causing bees to take longer to find food. This also decreases their pollination and foraging speeds. Droughts can kill off several species of plants, limiting bees’ food options.

Not only that, human activity can also cause severe harm to bee populations. Pesticides create chemicals that eliminate bee hives. If that’s not the case, pesticides can harm bees’ gut microbes which are responsible for digesting pollen. If their gut microbes are damaged, they cannot digest enough pollen and therefore will not survive colder temperatures.

So...bees are really important for our survival. Can we help them as much as they’re helping us?

If we banned dangerous pesticides, preserved bees’ wild habitats, and worked to restore some natural land, we might be able to help the rapidly-declining populations.

We must respect the work of the plants and animals around us and learn to protect them and their habitats.


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