In recent years, it has become common knowledge that international bee populations are in decline and this is only the tip of the iceberg for the future of biodiversity.
Bees are pollinators, a primary species found in most ecosystems across the world which aid in the life cycle of flowering plants. It is these flowering plants and crops that produce the fruit and vegetables that are found in our supermarkets. Even living in Northern Ireland, where a lot of my fruit and vegetables have been imported, it is still the various species of bees that have played their part in the pollination process. So, every time that I eat an apple or drink a fruit smoothie I must thank a bee for letting me do so. Like the rest of the UK and Ireland, Northern Ireland has a large farming industry which also depends on the benefits that bees bring to the local ecosystem. Essential farm livestock including cows and sheep feed on various grasses, clover and alfalfa which is all present due to the presence of bees. Although many people might not realise their importance, they are all around us quietly working away to benefit our environment.
These precious insects are under threat due to human activities including the use of insecticides or pesticides and land-use changes for urbanisation, development and agriculture. This behaviour of exploitation of our natural world is not going to stop over night or anywhere close to that, it is a process, and this is where it begins. It is essential to raise awareness to protect our bees, for people to act, for legislation to be put in place and habitats to be conserved.
So, I say Happy World Bee Day to you and I hope that by this time next year some progress will be made for international bee populations.
For more information on World Bee Day follow the link; http://www.un.org/en/events/beeday/