Van Nuys Senior High School

Column: To ‘bee’ or not to ‘bee’

All good things come to an end. Or so we’ve been constantly taught.

The idea that everything satisfactory in life will deteriorate and eventually cease to exist is merely the result of the lack of action being taken. The world is slowly burning behind us, and we refuse to look back. And yet, in the midst of the life-threatening issues of the world, it’s devastating to learn that the bees are going extinct.

Bees may just be the most underrated living creatures known to mankind. The general, uneducated perspective of bees is that they live to sting, pollinate, and not much more.

In a scary reality, the truth is that humans cannot live without bees. The truth is that bees play a vital role in our altering environment as the dominant pollinators of the crops consumed by us. Of the hundred crops that have been established as our staple food supply, over half are pollinated by bees.

Humans are half to blame for the near extinction of honeybees. The end of World War II sparked a proliferation of pesticide use in agriculture. The extensive application of pesticides, also known as neonicotinoids, directly targets the nervous system of insects, paralyzes the bees, and causes them to die in large numbers.

The other half to blame for the attack on honeybees is parasites. Parasites that are referred to as Varrao destructors (Varrao mites), are based specifically in bee colonies, where they are free to disband parts of the bee such as the wings, basically killing them.

The prevailing outlook concerning the near extinction of bees is essentially nonchalant, apathetic, indifferent, you name it. There’s not only one, but several reasons why this issue should be a daily worry. In simple terms, no bees means no humans.

The extinction of bees disturbs the lives of plants, animals, but also alters the shape of the land, fuels, and clothing. While the other source of pollination is the wind, it doesn’t do much compared to bees.

Bees are responsible for pollinating the majority of the fruits and vegetables we eat, amongst which include apples, watermelons, blueberries, and pumpkins.

It’s like a chain reaction, similar to a domino lineup. When one falls, we all fall. Animals, specifically, herbivores diets are modified first. Without plants, they would cease to exist. Cows, which are a big part of many non-vegetarians’ food intake, would go extinct, and we’d no longer be able to consume their dairy or meat. Not to mention, carnivores will suffer immediately next due to the declining population of herbivores.

The impotence of plants would cause large-scale desertification. That is, land would become barren, and Earth, known for its beautiful rainforests and scenery, will transform into a large desert.

One essential ingredient, canola, is very dependent on pollination. Canola is the ideal biodiesel material. Biodiesel is a type of biofuel that is non-toxic, biodegradable, and able to be used in diesel engines. The benefit of biodiesel is its ability to be constantly regrown due to its roots from canola and other oilseeds. Without canola oil, algae, and other products, we would have to rely on non-renewable petroleum to fuel our engines, which would skyrocket the greenhouse gas emissions, and create a global, catastrophic dilemma.

If I could look through the glasses of the future, I can undoubtedly guarantee worldwide famine and destitution. Eventually, we will all die either of thirst or starvation and it’s all due to some pesky insect.

Newsflash: The risk of getting stung by a bee is way less important than the pressures that their extinction put on our environment.

Here’s what you can do to help this human conservation issue:

  • Avoid using pesticides and any other kind of herbicide on your garden plants.
  • Make a conscious effort to buy organic food to encourage farmers to stop using pesticides.
  • Don’t kill bees.
  • Plant bee-friendly flowers.
  • Support your local beekeepers!


For more information, here are several websites to refer to: