You learned about the birds and the bees from your parents. Today, scientists say Bee populations are rapidly declining around the world due to habitat loss, pollution and the use of pesticides, among other factors. These creatures are vital to what we eat and what our countryside looks like.
Bees are the world’s most important pollinators, fertilising a third of the food we eat and 80% of flowering plants. Bees and other pollinating insects have a global economic value of around £120bn ($150bn) and contribute around £690m ($850m) to the UK economy every year, according to a University of Reading study. That’s good news for your investments.
The global shutdown has seen a significant reduction in air pollution. Less fumes from cars makes it easier for bees to forage, as air pollution substantially reduces the strength and longevity of floral scents, according to a 2016 study. Pollutants break down scent molecules emitted by plants, making it harder for bees to detect food. This means bees often end up flying further to find food and bring it back to their nests.
We can expect the number of bee deaths to fall as the number of car journeys decreases. A 2015 study in Canada estimated that 24 billion bees and wasps are killed by vehicles on roads across North America every year.
Many Local authorities have stopped maintaining road verges turning them into lush habitats.
This unexpected profusion of flowers will benefit the bees and help to boost their populations.
If you are a honey lover, it may not be good news for you. Commercial beekeepers and farmers relying on them to pollinate their crops are struggling because of travel restrictions. Beekeepers depend heavily on seasonal workers and on importing queen bees from around the world to replenish their colonies. If they cannot import labour to harvest the honey, hives will become congested. Arable farmers depend on travelling commercial hives to pollinate their crops and they will also suffer if hives cannot be moved.
So you may see less honey produced with significant price rises.