Bees and Sustainability
Bees, notably European honey bees, play an important role in our environment and economy. As far as important species go for humans, honey bees are right up there.
Not only do bees produce the universally beloved food, honey, they are also the world’s most prolific pollinators of food crops; one third of the food we eat every day relies on pollination. This includes fruit, vegetables, oils and nuts.
Plant ecologist Dr Margie Mayfield, of the University of Queensland, concluded that the common statistic of one in three bites (one third) was a more accurate representation of the proportion of Australian food that relies on bee pollination.
It’s estimated honey bee pollination contributes four to six billion dollars to the Australian economy. For example, almond crops are 100% reliant on honey bees for pollination according to the Australian beeaware website.
‘They’re essential pollinators – pollinating 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world,’ says Dr Veenstra, senior lecturer at Deakin University’s School of Life and Environmental Science in Australia.