Pollination is vital ecosystem service without which we are not able to get enough food. It is a process by which pollen grains are transferred from the male parts to female parts of the flower.
By Awais Ahmad
Without pollination the flowers do not produce fruits. There are many means of pollination. The pollination process is carried out by animals (85%), wind (13%), water (2%) and in some plants self pollination also occurs. Animals are very essential pollinators. These include bats, moths, butterflies, birds, beetles, wasps, bees and flies.
Among all the animal pollinators the insect pollinators are the most important ones which pollinate almost 85% angiosperm plants. The maximum pollination of important food crops are carried out by insects mainly bees. Bees are the most vital pollinators on earth that exist. Around one-third bite of the food that we daily eat relies upon bees. To describe the importance of bees Albert Einstein has quoted:
“If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth,
man would only have four years left to live.”
Bees play a crucial role to pollinate the important food crops all around the world. According to research, almost 20,000 bees providing pollination services all over the globe and many are still unidentified. Majority of the vegetables and fruits we eat such as apple, citrus, melon, strawberry, raspberry, cucumber, bittergourd, carrot etc all are the result of pollination by bees. If bees disappeared from the earth then we will not be able to get this food to eat. The ecosystem survival is not possible without bees. Bees include both the honey bees and solitary bees, both have their own importance in pollination different food crops.
Have you ever thought why bees are so much important in our lives? There are many reasons for this. Many researchers have proved that without the bees the yield of many crops may reduced. Bees contribute about 235-577 US dollars in global food production. The world population is growing day by day and it is very difficult to feed such big population. If there are no bees these people would not get enough food to eat and die of hunger. In sustainable development goals bees are crucial factor to remove zero hunger from the world. In order to get balanced, diverse and good quality diet we need bees in our ecosystem. Not only pollination, Honeybees provide us honey and other essential bee products such as bees wax, royal jelly and propolis. People also keep bees in manmade apiaries in order to get these products. This practice is known as beekeeping. Many small holder farmers earn a good amount through this practice. So, in short bees also contribute towards the economy of the country.
Inspite of having so many benefits of bees there are some people around who are not aware of the importance of bees. The bees are facing many threats and their population is declining day by day. The anthropogenic activities are becoming major causes of bee decline. Excessive use of pesticides, deforestation, environmental pollution and many other factors are main cause of bees decline. But we should remember that if there are no bees then world will get no food to eat. We need to take such steps which help to conserve our bees. For this purpose we must grow more bee friendly plants to provide them good habitat and food resources. This will help to improve the diversity of the bees which will automatically provide healthy food.
Authors: Muhammad Awais Ahmad1, Mariam Zahid1, Danyal Haider Khan1
1Institute of plant protection, Institute of Plant Protection MNS University of Agriculture, Multan