Student Stories

But what happens if bees go extinct?

May 1st, 2023

Buzzz, buzzzz what’s that sound? It sounds like World Bee Day!

The sound of buzzing bees is one of the first heralds of spring and the reawakening of nature! Bees hurriedly land from flower to flower in a ravishing symbiotic dance producing very familiar buzzing sounds. However, with each passing year, this sound becomes quieter, the flowers are lonelier, nature is more dormant, and springs get sadder. We need to act urgently for the sake of our planet and for all of us because time is running out.

Although we are less aware of this, our survival largely depends on bees. Human activities with a large increase pose a danger to bees and many other pollinators ( such as butterflies, bats, hummingbirds, etc.). Why are pollinators important for our survival? In order for an ecosystem to function and survive, pollination is a fundamental process. The importance of pollination is that 75-90% of wild flowering plants and food crops depend on it partially or completely.

Around the world, bee species are facing a devastating decline. Since the 1990s, nearly 25% of known bee species have not been registered anywhere. It is important to emphasize that the term "bees" not only refers to honeybees as the most cultivated species but that our activities greatly affect the wild species of bees, on which our planet depends the most.

What human activities pose a danger to bees and their potential extinction? These are activities such as those that disrupt or destroy bee habitats, industrialization of agricultural practices, pesticides, and globalization that have resulted in the transmission of bee parasites and other invasive species that can destroy complete hives in a matter of hours... Global warming is also playing a significant role in the endangerment of the bee population. Rising temperatures, floods, and changes in blooming seasons of flowering plants, all affect the bee ecosystem and its suitability for their adaptation and survival.


The most important question is, what would happen if the bees became extinct? In short, nothing would be the same. The stability of human populations directly depends on the stability of bee populations. The presence of bees in our ecosystem allows us so many things that we would never expect bees to be involved in or mainly responsible for their existence.

One of the key and most obvious roles of bees is the pollination activity in supporting agricultural systems. Their disappearance would result in a food crisis and thus a dramatic rise in already high food prices and various services. Secondary, but simultaneously for our planet primary, the result would be a disappearance in both plant and animal biodiversity, as many animals depend on plant food.

Can we imagine life without fruits, vegetables, meat, oil, coffee, tea, cotton, and cosmetics...? Can we imagine life without bees? We need to act now! More on how you can contribute to the existence of bees you can look at: Major Initiatives | FAO's Global Action on Pollination Services for Sustainable Agriculture | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Jovana Jotanović
PMF, Biology & Genetics, University of Sarajevo 

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