The Use of Bees – Tom Ridgeon

Early bumblebee Bombus pratorum

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.

A honey bee Apis mellifera pollinating

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.

Tom Ridgeon
BSc Zoology
University of Exeter

Published by fxulifemagazine

Welcome to the Life Nature Magazine blog! This is a continuation of the natural history magazine run exclusively by students of the University of Exeter and Falmouth University.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: