Some may remember growing up learning about the “birds and the bees” or watching “Maya the bee” on TV. We all grew up learning something about bees, but do we actually know the history of bees and how truly incredible these busy little yellow and brown creatures really are?
“The humming of bees is the voice of the garden…”
Elizabeth Laurence, American actress
In the beginning was the buzz…
The history of bees is simply incredible! Bees already wandered the planet with dinosaurs. Did you know that the oldest bee is 100 million year old and looks like a wasp? The fossilized bee is perfectly preserved in amber, a semi-precious stone made of hardened tree sap. It was discovered by researchers of Oregon State University.
Credit: George Poinar Jr., OSU College of Science.
The fossil shows the bees relationship to the wasp family, and proves as evidence that bees and dinosaurs lived together for at least 35 million years. Unlike the dinosaurs, bees survived the mass extinction that wiped out three-quarter of life on Earth.
Bee – Human Relationship
This is probably when the foundation for the connection between mankind and bees first started, and it’s quite fascinating:
Scientists believe the first plants with colored flowers evolved with the arrival of bees on earth. Imagine a massive marketing campaign among flowers to compete with each other for pollination!
Colored flowers stand out like beacons from the usual green plants, making them easier to spot for bees. This gave the flowers a much higher chance to get pollinated and evolve into ‘modern’, edible crops needed for the survival of animals and humans. The race was on, and it was in fact so successful that until this day, bees still pollinate about 85 to 90% of all crops consumed by humans. (add link to The master pollinator).
…But it wasn’t just plants that evolved. The industrialization of man changed the landscape forever and it didn’t stop there. The age of science and the mass production that followed also had severe consequences (add link to The changing environment) for the bees.
Decline of the Bees
Over the last half-century the number of bees drastically declined. Humans had taken the crops pollination by bees for granted all these years. Science found that this was now under real threat. Even the great scientist Albert Einstein once said, “If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.” See more in (A world without bees) It’s time to act! In 2016 bees were declared an endangered species and people started taking action.
The statistics office released data showing that in 2018 there were 92.27 million beehives worldwide. Thats 12.59 million more beehives than in 2010! It might sound impressive when you think that bees are an endangered species, but it’s still far from enough.
If the human race is to survive they need bees! Imagine a world without bees, if Einstein’s prediction comes true that humans will have no food four years after bees become extinct!
“Where there are bees there are flowers and wherever there are flowers there is new
life and hope”
Christy Lefteri, The Beekeeper of Aleppo