Bees, fundamental for the balance of ecosystems

With bees helping to pollinate crops, the quality of the fruit is higher and the quantity of the harvest is also increased; hence their importance.

Bees, fundamental for the balance of ecosystems
Bee populations are crucial to the equilibrium of ecological balance. Photo by Eric Ward / Unsplash

With only 1.5 centimeters, or 2 in the case of the queen bee and the males, bees dominate the world of pollination; hence their importance in the ecological, economic and social spheres.

Bees are responsible for between 90% and 95% of the pollination required by plants for their reproduction, which contributes to maintaining the balance of ecosystems. Bees, as well as beekeeping and beekeepers, are important for crops because, thanks to pollination, more abundant and better quality harvests can be obtained.  The beekeeping industry also acquires social and economic relevance, since beekeeping generates employment.

Types of pollination

Ornithophilic pollination is carried out by birds, mainly hummingbirds; anemophilous pollination is achieved with the help of the wind that carries the pollen from one plant to another; and entomophilic pollination, in which various insects are involved, but bees are the ones that have the greatest presence in the pollination process.

There are also other pollinators such as rodents that feed on flowers and fruits that contribute to spreading pollen; and bats, nocturnal pollinators that contribute to the reproduction of plants located in deserts, since many of the species open their flora at night to avoid daytime temperatures.

It is necessary to emphasize the factors that endanger this species, among which are monocultures, transgenic crops, climate change, immoderate logging, the use of agrochemicals, and it is also believed that the signals emitted by cell phones disorient the bees, making it impossible for them to return to their hives.

When bees help us pollinate crops, the quality of the fruit is higher and the quantity of the harvest is also increased.

Throughout the year, bees collect pollen as their main source of protein; some flowers provide more protein than others, so there is a balance in their nutritional requirements. So with monocultures, bees only get a certain type of pollen that does not cover all their needs, putting beehives and bee colonies at risk.

The disappearance of vegetation due to immoderate logging is another risk factor, as well as the use of agrochemicals since many producers seeking to benefit their crops cause the bees to feed on contaminated pollen. All these aspects endanger the survival of bees but also cause bee production to decline.

Worldwide, there are several efforts to ensure the survival of bees. Finally, there is a worldwide call to the population to protect bees. Instead of sacrificing bees and honeycombs that we might find in homes or businesses, it is recommended to look for beekeepers who can capture, care for and take advantage of them.

Interesting facts about bees

Bees pollinate 25,000 species of flowering plants.
To produce one kilogram of honey, bees must visit 10 million flowers.
A bee flies 800 kilometers in its lifetime and produces only half a teaspoon of honey.
A hive can pollinate 250 million flowers.
In a hive we can find three types of bees: only one queen, responsible for laying eggs for the following generations; the workers, in charge of collecting nectar and pollen and building the hive; and the drone, that is, the male bees that live and eat in the hive, do not work and are the ones that fertilize the queen.