A fact I did not know about honey bees:
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that out of some 100 crop species which provide 90% of food worldwide, 71 of these are bee-pollinated. In Europe alone, 84% of the 264 crop species are animal pollinated and 4, 000 vegetable varieties exist thanks to pollination by bees.
Interesting! And also really scary because that nugget is from the introduction of a new report from the UN Environment Program (UNEP) Global Honey Bee Colony Disorders and Other Threats to Insect Pollinators. The report shows how a decline in the number of honey bees worldwide may presage what they call “a major extinction of biological diversity event.”
And in case you were wondering, yes, it is our fault. From the UN News Center:
bee colonies have been collapsing in many parts of the globe, and the report – Global Bee Colony Disorders and other Threats to Insect Pollinators – cites more than a dozen potential factors ranging from declines in flowering plants and the use of memory-damaging insecticides to the worldwide spread of pests and air pollution. It urges that farmers be offered incentives to restore pollinator-friendly habitats such as flowering plants next to crop-producing fields.
“Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature. Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less, dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to 7 billion people,” Mr. Steiner said, calling on the world to factor in the often invisible multi-trillion dollar services provided by nature.