24 October, 2016 - 15:52 (Research Matters)
“Oh! Not again! Bees are buzzing all around the tube light. Now it's enough, I have to call the pest control guy and get rid of this hive ASAP!”. Before doing this, stop and imagine, how will the world be without honey bees? Well, no more irritating buzz. Noise is not the only thing bees make. We all know they make honey and beeswax, with their numerous health benefits. But that's not all. Bees provide a valuable service of pollination - transfer of pollen grains from one plant to female reproductive part of other plant. About 70 to 80% of fruits and almost a quarter of food crops are pollinated by honey bees. It is estimated that bees contribute to about $29 billion worth of benefit to the US farm income, which is certainly a huge amount. If we were to pollinate the flowers with machines, it would cost almost 100kg worth of fuel to produce 1kg fruits - you will have to pay almost Rs.1000 for a kilogram of oranges, for example. A lot of pesticides which are used to get rid of pests, also affect bees directly or indirectly. The Australian government has made a list of about 400 such pesticides and have recommended farmers not to use them on their crops, as it would affect the health of bees, and in turn, the pollination process itself. Bees are definitely an integral part of our life and we cannot imagine living without them.