Bee-informed: why bees are essential to crops and mankind
In agro-ecosystems, pollinators, like bees, are indispensable for orchard, horticultural, forage and seed production for many root and fiber crops. Imagine then if there are no bees in this world, then humankind would be devoid of dietary lipids, lycopene, calcium, iron, lycopene, even Vitamins A, C and E where majority come from food crops requiring pollinators.
A third of what humans eat today are products of bee pollination. Bees indeed play a huge role in sustaining the planet’s ecosystems. Around 84 percent of crops grown for human consumption need bees (bats and other insect pollinators) to increase yield and quality. Pollinated food is vital to human nutritional diversity, vitamin sufficiency and food quality.
Honeybees are well-recognized for providing a wide range of benefits to human ranging from health, nutritional value to livelihood. Among the primary marketable bee products include pollen, propolis, royal jelly, venom, queens, bees and their larvae. Honey, on the other hand, is a regular kitchen staple loaded with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that can be used to treat colds to itchy dandruff.
The National Honey Board says just a tablespoon of raw honey contains 64 calories, is fat-free, cholesterol-free; its composition roughly 80 percent carbohydrates, 18 percent water, and two percent vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Only recently, a team of researchers at the University of California—Santa Barbara released a study showing most nutritional diversity in the human diet comes from foods pollinated either by insects such as bees and bats.