Recently, it was National Honeybee Day, which aims to bring awareness to the plight faced by honeybees. With millions of these and other bees being killed off, their numbers have been tragically whittled down, and this poses a threat to our food supplies. Scarily, U.S. beekeepers lost about 40 percent of their bee colonies from the period between April 2014 to April 2015. This is worrying since we need bees to pollinate a variety of plants so that we can have food. There are many foods we could lose if honeybees weren’t around. Here are just five of the ones that will impact our vegan diets:
If there is no cross-pollination from bees, apples won’t be able to get produced. In a hive, if some bees are getting pollen from one type of apple tree and others are getting from a different type, then they will have mixed pollen grains that allow cross-pollination to occur. Apple growers rely on this hard work by bees. Without them, one of our favourite fruits will be gone.
You might not think you’ll miss onions if bees go extinct, but think of how valuable they are in a variety of your vegan dishes as they provide a punch of flavour, from salads and sandwiches to your favourite salsa and creamy potato dishes.
Avos are a great substitute for cheese in sandwiches and on vegan pizza, but did you know that 90 per cent of avos that are grown in the U.S. need to be pollinated by honeybees?
You not only get nutrients from almonds, but you also get to enjoy almond milk which is a great substitute for dairy. But without bees, almond production is at risk. Almonds basically need bees to pollinate their flowers. Take California, for instance. It produces around two billion pounds of this nut every year and this supplies up to 80 per cent of the almond supply in the entire world! So if bees aren’t pollinating the almond trees, this will sadly limit their supply on a global scale.
It’s not just honeybees that are required for the pollination of crops. Other types of bees are just as vital. Take the pollination of blueberries, for instance. The Southern Blueberry Bee species has evolved with the native plants of blueberries, and these bees are beneficial for pollination because their wings vibrate so that they can reach the bell-shaped blueberry flowers much better than honey bees who don’t vibrate around the flowers. It just goes to show how we need to look after all our bee species.
*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons