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What's all the buzz about bees?

(Image by: Christina Sullivan)

It’s easy to make the argument that among all the creatures that inhabit Earth, there is none far more important to the sustenance of life than the pollinators. The planet’s pollinators include a vast array of species of insects, lizards, birds, and mammals. However, there is no pollinator on Earth that comes even remotely close to bees in terms of global impact and predominance (Hung, Kingston, Albrecht, Holway, and Kohn, 2018).

The depopulation of bees is occurring on a global scale. The main reasons for the global decline in bee population are a combination of stresses from industrial agriculture, habitat loss, parasites, pathogens, and lack of flowers. Global climate changes are anticipated to further worsen these problems (Goulson, Nicholls, Botias, and Rotheray, 2015).

So what’s the big deal about bees and why should we show them so much love?  For starters, humanity, as we know it today, would cease to exist without bees’ pollination of our food crops. Bees are responsible for 70% of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables that we eat on a daily basis—equal to $200 billion global dollars of agriculture. One in three bites of food we take on any given day was probably helped along by a bee somewhere.  Additionally, research has shown that bees play a significant role in the pollination of the cotton plant. Without bees’ contribution to cotton pollination, odds are that you may have a bit more polyester in your wardrobe than you’d like to! 

Honey Bees

Solitary Bees

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-two Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.