20 May is World Bee Day. We need bees for:
Bees are important to our livelihood as they help to pollinate most of the crops we eat and many that feed farm animals. Nearly two-thirds of Australia’s agricultural production benefits from bee pollination.
But bee populations are under threat. Destruction of their natural habitat, intensive farming practices, and pests and diseases are just some of the complex reasons driving a decline in both the number and diversity of bees. Without bees, our food security is at risk.
There are over 20,000 species of bee that exist globally and Australia is home to around 2,000 species of native bee. Native bees have co-evolved with our unique native flora over thousands of years.
Some species of plant can only be pollinated by a particular species of bee. In the absence of pollination, the plant species cannot reproduce so if that bee species dies, so too will the plant. Without bees, biodiversity is at risk.
Bees are keystone species that play a vital role in preserving ecosystem health. Bees provide essential pollination services for plants.
Maintaining plant diversity supports other essential ecosystem services including helping to regulate climate, purify air and water, build soil and recycle nutrients. Without bees, ecosystems are at risk.
World Bee Day celebrates our hard-working little pollinators. Visit World Bee Day Australia website for more.
Cover photo courtesy of Dennis Klicker via Unsplash.