Bees will die out

Bee death: why bees might become extinct

On beautiful summer days, the meadows hum and hum, bees fly around, collect nectar and pollinate the flowers. It could be this idyllic, but researchers warn that bees could soon become extinct

Why does bee death occur?

"It is actually quite natural in nature for bee colonies to die," explains Jürgen Tautz, professor at the University of Würzburg. But he finds the numbers alarming: In recent years, however, significantly more have died, around 30 percent of all bee colonies. It would be normal for only every tenth bee colony to die. What's wrong with the bees?

What causes bee deaths?

There are many explanations for the disappearance of the insects with the sting. Diseases, for example, but also the type of agriculture we operate.

The monoculture economy, i.e. the one-sided cultivation of plants. For the insects, this type of agriculture means that they can only collect nectar from one type of plant for a short period of time, but go hungry for the rest of the year. Of course, insecticides also damage the animals. Climate change anyway. All of this promotes the death of bees.

What are the consequences of bee deaths for us humans?

The bee researchers are very concerned about the high losses: "For us humans and nature, dying is a great danger that could become a threat in the next few years." Because if the bees are missing, they are no longer available to pollinate the plants. One consequence would be that we would not get any more honey and wax. "We could probably do without the honey for breakfast rolls," says Tautz. So what is it that worries the researchers so much?

"But other consequences have such serious consequences that they are a serious danger. A third of our food only grows after being pollinated by bees," he says. These include apples, pears, cherries and plums. "If all of these foods were to be eliminated, there would be an extreme gap," says Tautz. "Then we could hardly eat any more."

The death of bees leads to a loss of biodiversity

So for us humans it would be a direct threat if there were no more bees. The plant world suffers even more from the changes: "Bees are responsible for nature being as beautifully colorful as we know it today. Otherwise the plant world would be monotonously green," says Tautz.

"The color and scent of the plants was developed by the bees and other pollinating insects." Because plants compete with each other. Everyone wants them to be pollinated because only then can they reproduce. But in order for the bees to fly to it, it has to shine particularly beautifully or smell particularly wonderful. Without bees, the plants could not be pollinated and consequently no new ones could grow.

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Insects and plants are affected

What would follow is the loss of biodiversity. The insects pollinate around 170,000 of the total of 380,000 plants on earth and these are therefore affected by bee deaths.

And that in turn has an impact on the animal world, because many songbirds, beetles and insects feed on plant seeds. But without bees there would be no plants, without plants there would be no seeds and without seeds there would be fewer small organisms.

Is It Safe For Bees To Go Extinct?

How likely is it that bees will actually go extinct? To this question Tautz replies: "There is definitely a risk, just like for every organism. But every human being can do something to prevent things from going that far in the first place. Just buy a jar of honey from a beekeeper and you bet yourselves for the fact that he can continue to own his bee colonies and that the bees pollinate the flowers. "

Bee deaths: explained in three minutes

Book tip: Jürgen Tautz: The honey bee phenomenon.

With photographs by Helga. R. Heilmann

Spectrum Publishing House

Price: € 24.95

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