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Essay on The Importance of Bees to the Environment

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Pollinators are very important to the environment because many plant species rely on reproduction to be carried out by pollination1. Bees are dependent on plants for pollen and nectar and in return, are the most common pollinator of plant species and around 90 percent of plants require pollination by an animal7. Bees are used in farming, both for pollinating crops and for producing honey, and the estimated value of bees to the United Kingdom is £400 million per year9. Plants are the primary producers in many food webs and, as so many are dependent on pollination in order to reproduce, a decline in pollinators would have a detrimental effect to whole ecosystems. Therefore, the declining numbers of pollinators, particularly bees, are a cause of concern because of the environmental knock-on effects. High declines in adult bee numbers in some colonies have been reported and this decline is known as colony collapse disorder6. These declines are higher than normal and can go unnoticed by bee keepers because the bees do not generally die in the nest so the decrease is not immediately obvious. The problem addressed in this paper will be the decline of bees and the effects this decline has on the environment. The solutions proposed for this problem are increasing research, managing farming and spreading awareness. It is important to conserve the bee populations before the problem of decreasing pollinator numbers becomes too great to fix.
Proposal
The first step in bee conservation would be to accurately determine the cause of death of bees in the United Kingdom. This would use about 30million pounds to set up research labs across the country. Stricter guidelines for bee keepers would be developed so that dead bees can be analysed by resear...


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... Lipkin, W.I.. A Metagenomic Survey of Microbes in Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder. Science. Volume 318, Number 58848, 6 September 2007, Pages 283 – 287.

4. Emerson, E.. Honeybee death suspects spotted. Science News. Volume 177, Number 13, 19 June 2010, Page 15.

5. LaJeunesse, S.. Common crop pesticides kill honeybee larvae in the hive. Penn State | News. 27 January 2014.

6. Oldroyd, B.P. . What’s Killing American Honey Bees? PLoS Biology. Volume 5, Number 6, 12 June 2007, e168.

7. Winfree, R. . The conservation and restoration of wild bees. Annuals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Volume 1195, 3 May 2010, Pages 169 – 197.

8. Willmer, P.. Ecology: Pollinator – Plant Synchrony Tested by Climate Change. Current Biology. Volume 22, Issue 4, 21 Feb 2012, Pages R131 – R132.

9. "Why Bees Need Help." Bumblebee Conservation Trust. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.



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