Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Climate Matters. I is for Insects.

This is for I in the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2012. Link in the sidebar.

Bees are awesome creatures, not only do they produce honey, but along with mosquitoes, dragonflies and other insects, they assist in the pollination of grains as well as fruit trees and vegetables. We’re reliant on them all and they’re vital for the continued health of our ecosystems and crops!

Of concern to bee keepers and agriculturalists is the fact that bee populations are in decline. It’s understood that they’ve been stressed by a combination of factors including pesticides, disease, parasites, and human mismanagement.

Whilst many smaller scale farmers are keenly in touch with their crops and animals, and work the land sustainably, others are of such a vast scale and appear to have little interest in long term sustainable practises. Land that in former times would have supported a variety of crops and then allowed to lie fallow to be enriched with organic matter such as blood and bone is now stripped and forced to produce crops reliant on artificial fertilisers season after season.

Vast tracts of land are planted with a single type of seed which has been impregnated with toxic herbicides and pesticides. As the crops grow, some of the insecticide remains and the bees collect pollen which contains remnants of the initial dose of insecticide as well as toxic sprays. This pollen is then taken back to the hive to feed the larvae and to make honey.
Traditionally, bees would forage from a variety of plants, however, the size of the fields planted with a single crop makes this difficult. It’s an unnatural, unhealthy diet for them and appears to weaken them, it's a bit like us only eating a single type of food day in and day out - it's hard to get all the nutrients for optimal health.

Not only do insects including butterflies and wasps pollinate crops and blossoms, but others help aerate soil when they tunnel, which helps water get to plant roots. They also decompose dead and rotting material as happens in a compost bin or worm farm. Insects play a vital role in enabling life to continue on Earth. Without them, in all their buggy glory, we and many other birds, reptiles and animals wouldn’t be able to survive.

When species by species they become extinct, we are threatening our very survival. Sir David Attenborough says “If we and the rest of the backboned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse.’ And when the world’s ecosystmes collapse, we die, it's that simple.

Last year I wrote about International students and others for I in my theme of workplace bullying. Here.



Lucy Adams said...

I'm trying to my part in my own backyard. We have a garden and a variety of plantings, including perennials, annuals and fruit. And, I'm excited to say, we're looking into getting a couple of bee boxes. Our little half-acre ecosystem won't save the world, but it brings me a lot of joy (except for the mosquitoes).


Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

Hi Sue, thanks for your visit to my blog! I love photographing insects

This is me, Duncan D. Horne, visiting you from the A-Z challenge, wishing you all the best throughout April and beyond.

Duncan In Kuantan

Marcie said...

You have chosen an interesting theme for the challenge! I am visiting from the A-Z challenge.

Julie said...

Hi Sue, What a great theme you have! I've just been catching up and your posts are so interesting. I admit I hate bees, but I know how important they are. They just love to sting me so I try to give them plenty of space LOL.

Looking forward to more of your posts!

J.C. Martin said...

And wasn't it Einstein who stated that should the world's bees go extinct, humankind will follow within four years? reat post. Insects may seem like alien creepy-crawlies, but they are a key part of our ecosystem.

J.C. Martin
A to Z Blogger

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. all so true - every tiny thing is worth something and makes our little world go round.

They had an item on bees in London - they're setting up hives all around London - a number on roof tops .. and they're having a better time of it -than in the country.

My K castle post has a brief snippet on ants - but the whole post will be of interest to your topic ..

We don't like the little bugs - but boy do they help us in our life ..

Cheers - great informative post - Hilary

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

This is great info. I read somewhere if the bees go extinct it would be a disaster for us. I love bees! Thanks for visiting me today. I'll be back.

MAJK said...

I really enjoyed your post and it comes on the heels of my husband and I just discussing how some bee keepers (commercial) were feeding Bees HFC and it was causing the colony / hive to collapse.

We vertebrates need to remember what we owe to the invertebrates of the world.

*~ MAJK ~*
Twitter @safireblade
A to Z Blog Challenge

sue said...

Lucy, good on you, gardening is great isn't it! As for those pesky mosquitoes, did you know they also pollinate some fruits and vegetables?

Duncan, my little bee just wouldn't stay still, it was very skittish as you can see from the photo :(

Marcie, I wanted to spend time doing something of long term value (hopefully!) so that's why I chose this theme.

Julie, thankyou :) perhaps you simply have a very attractive nature! They're really quite beautiful when you look at them up close.

J.C. Martin, my quote along that line comes from Sir David Attenborough, but I suspect others have said the same thing.

Hilary, thanks for that information about bees in London, I'll look out for it - it may help me with the difficult letter U ... how one gets from bees to the letter U will take some doing ;)

I'll pop over in a minute and have a read. I'm trying to visit mostly new blogs and feel a bit torn about missing my regulars.

Debra Harris-Johnson, yes you're right, there will be global starvation if bees become extinct.

MAJK I read a similar article recently. The toxins seem to accumulate in their systems and they become disoriented and die. Hopefully the pesticide companies concerned will resist the urge to insist the pesticide is safe.