These days, the very idea of ‘insects’, can bring up sheer revulsion and nausea. And yet, I believe they get a bad press. Let’s start with the basics, do you enjoy a summers day? The feel of Pimms in the hand, and the warm sunshine on your face? Now how would you react if I told you that all of this, comes from one order of insects: Hymenoptera? In other words, bees. Now you can debate this till the cows come home, but it is undeniable that without the furry fellas we would have a very different summer’s day, and planet altogether. The fruit smoothie you enjoy whilst watching Wimbledon, would not be possible without the pollination by bumblebees, mason bees and honey bees. That cup of tea for cool evenings, again pollinated by bees, that tomato soup was, you guessed it, pollinated.
Even your morning cereal probably wouldn’t be complete without dairy products, which are created from cows consuming alfalfa, which is again pollinated by bees. In short the food we need to survive relies solely on healthy bee populations lively and buzzing happily. Dave Goulson delivered a blistering talk on why bees are essential for the everyday lifestyle we enjoy. He explained how, by using pesticides, we are killing off our precious bees and stinging ourselves in the butt-cheeks. Bees provide services we simply could not live without. In China, some farmers are forced into hand pollination to replace the dwindling wild populations. The result is poor produce and wasted hours. So before you fly indoors and retrieve the fly swatter, just pause and remember the fruit smoothie in the fridge, the chocolate bar you’re saving and the tea you’ve left reading this. It could all be gone under the bumbling government. Look on that buzz as a sign of health, life and vitality.
The future might not be so sweet.
University of Exeter