What Would Happen If Bees Went Extinct
Bees are an integral part of our ecosystem, responsible for pollinating more than a third of global food crops. Without bees, much of our agriculture and economy would collapse, other animals might disappear, and we’d see fewer varieties of foods in grocery stores. If this sounds like the plot to a dystopian novel or disaster film—don’t worry! It’s not really happening yet. But the story gets even stranger: We don’t actually know what would happen if bees went extinct entirely because they’ve never gone extinct before. The best guess so far is that there would be some catastrophic changes to human civilization as we know it —and those changes could be pretty bad for everyone involved.
Bees are responsible for the majority of pollination in the world.
You may not have heard of the term “pollination,” which is the process by which pollen is transferred from the anther to the stigma of flowers. Pollen grains contain male gametes (sperm), and they’re necessary for reproduction in plants. Bees are responsible for more than a third of global food production, according to a 2016 study conducted by researchers at Newcastle University and published in Science. Bees pollinate over 100 different crops in the United States alone; this includes almonds, apples, blueberries, cucumbers and pumpkins—to name just a few!
When it comes to pollination services provided by bees in America alone (excluding honeybees), those services are worth more than $15 billion annually according to research conducted by Jennifer Dungan at Cornell University in 2017. This means that without these crucial bugs we’d be missing out on some pretty important foods like strawberries!
Bees are responsible for more than a third of global food production.
Bees are responsible for more than a third of global food production.
Bees pollinate more than 100 crops and are responsible for pollinating more than a third of the world’s food supply. They also pollinate 130 different crops, or 35% of the human diet. This includes many types of berries, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
The cost of human pollination services would skyrocket.
If we assume that human pollination services would increase by $3 billion, the cost of these services would reach an estimated $140 billion by 2050. That’s a big leap from the current market value of $5 billion to $6 billion. However, if we take into account that bee populations might be down as much as 90% (very conservatively), then it seems fair to assume that the cost of human pollination services could increase by at least 30%—which means that farmers would have to pay humans for their work.
At this point, you may be wondering what exactly makes up this price tag? After all, it isn’t like there’s a scale or calculator on which one can simply add up all their numbers and get an exact figure in return. In fact, there are many factors involved with calculating such figures:
The United States would experience a major economic impact.
If bees went extinct, the global economy would take a major hit. Bees are responsible for more than a third of global food production and it would be costly to replace them with other pollinators such as humans, according to an article in Wired magazine.
According to the same article by James Gorman, “The cost of human pollination services would skyrocket.” This means that prices on products that rely on insect-pollinated crops could go up substantially if we were unable to sustain our current agricultural system without bees.
It wouldn’t just be our wallets that suffer from this scenario; our planet’s ecosystems overall would suffer greatly as well. According to National Geographic:
Without plants functioning at full capacity due to bee loss, animals dependent on those plants will start dying off too—and so will predators who feed directly or indirectly off these animals (think bears). And then you have one big problem: an ecosystem collapse which could give rise again someday but probably won’t until after humanity has wiped itself out completely first due to starvation or war over resources…
We’d lose much of our food variety.
As you’ve likely heard, bees pollinate crops. In fact, they pollinate a wide variety of plants and some plants that are not pollinated by other animals at all.
The loss of bees would mean the loss of many kinds of plants and foods we rely on as part of our diet. In addition to the obvious fruit and vegetable crops we currently enjoy, certain herbs (like oregano) also rely heavily on bee pollination for reproduction—and this is just one example out of hundreds!
Almonds and apples are particularly dependent on bees.
Almonds are pollinated by honey bees. Apples, on the other hand, are dependent on a variety of bees to pollinate them. Honey bees are responsible for about 80 percent of apple pollination in the United States—but orchard mason bees and bumblebees do their fair share as well. Wind is another major factor in apple pollination; wind-pollinated fruits include cherries, pears and plums. Birds also help out with some varieties of apples (such as crab apples) but only contribute a small amount of overall fruit production each year.
Coffee would also be in danger.
What would happen to coffee if bees went extinct?
Coffee is the second most valuable commercial crop in the world. It’s also a major cash crop in many parts of the world, contributing more than $200 billion per year to global GDP.
The pollination process is similar to that of almonds and so other plants would be affected as well. The coffee tree relies on bees’ ability to transfer pollen from one flower to another, so if bees were gone it wouldn’t produce any berries at all, let alone delicious coffee beans!
Bees perform different pollination tasks at different times of day.
>Bees are most active during the day, though they will forage in the evening or at night if needed.
>They are also very busy in spring and summer, which is when flowers are blooming and buzzing with pollinators.
>Bees prefer temperatures between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius (59 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit) and humidity between 70 and 80 percent.
Bee extinction could actually create pest problems, leading to additional crop losses.
While bee extinction might sound like a good thing for farmers, it could actually lead to further crop losses. If all of the bees disappeared, pests would have a field day and decimate crops. Without effective control methods for some of these pests, such as mites and beetles that destroy plant material, we’d see a lot more damage in our food supply.
Additionally, if we had no way to keep pests under control through chemical use or other means of pest management (like crop rotation), this would put additional pressure on farmers who rely on their crops being healthy enough to sell at market price so they can pay back loans or buy new seeds and equipment for next season’s planting season. This could result in even higher costs for consumers who are already paying exorbitant prices because of rising demand due to decreased production capabilities caused by climate change impacts like drought conditions affecting Midwest farms during peak growing seasons earlier this year alone.”
Bees can contribute to biodiversity, and losing them might mean losing other animals as well.
Bees are responsible for pollinating many wild plants, food crops, native plants and invasive species. If bees went extinct, many other species might go extinct as well. For example:
- Some native North American birds rely on the fruits of certain trees (such as elderberries) that are only eaten by birds with long curved bills—like bluebirds or warblers. Without these foods available in the landscape, these birds would have a hard time surviving in many parts of North America.
- Many fruit trees rely on bees for pollination; if there were no more bees to pollinate them, those trees would not produce fruit anymore and we would lose some delicious treats like apples!
Without bees, much of our agriculture and economy would collapse, other animals might disappear, and we’d see fewer varieties of foods in grocery stores.
- Without bees, much of our agriculture and economy would collapse.
- There is an enormous variety of plants that rely on pollination for reproduction: about one-third of all crops worldwide, including fruit trees and vegetables. In addition to the food crops humans consume directly, many other animals depend on plants that need pollinators. If a species were to go extinct because its food source disappeared (such as when bees are no longer there to pollinate flowers), the animal would also go extinct.
- We’d see fewer varieties of foods in grocery stores.
This is because without bees there would be less biodiversity overall: more than half our fruits and vegetables are dependent on them for their existence; without these plants we wouldn’t have apples or oranges or carrots—or even wheat for bread! Without bees’ help throughout nature’s ecosystems there will inevitably be less diversity among all living things including humans!
If you care about the future of our food supply and economy, then you should be concerned about the status of bees. Pollinators are responsible for some of our most important crops, and if they go extinct then we could see a massive economic impact. These creatures also perform an important role in maintaining biodiversity around the world by pollinating wild plants that other animals depend upon as well. If you’re worried about what will happen if bees went extinct, there are simple steps everyone can take today to help prevent this crisis from happening.