Every single species living on earth is important, even though the ones that seem unimportant. Their meaninglessness only means those species are living in the wrong place or time, doesn’t mean they are not made to contribute anything to the nature.
On the other hand, the importance of some species is just inevitable because their absence, even in a patch of land, would result in chaos. Bees belong to this very important species category, because they are the most effective pollinator on this planet.
Without bees, we would lose nearly three quarters of plants that produce 90% the world’s food supply. Why? Because bees are the pollinators of the plants, and without bees the plants cannot reproduce hence there is no food for us.
But we know that the world is getting older and things around us are potentially getting worse and worse. Have you ever heard in the news that in some parts of the world, including United States, bees are going extinct?
These researchers from Japan are working on plan B if this thing ever come true. The chosen replacement of bees are air bubbles. Can this plan B work as good as plan A? Here in this article, we are going to talk about it.
Why Bees Are Important?
First thing first, to make sure you understand fully about the circumstances, we should talk about why the presence of bees is really important. As mentioned above, they pollinate three quarters of plants that feed 90% people in the world. But that’s just one in the list.
The black and yellow corps are also important for ecological balance and biodiversity. According to World Bee Day, both their presence and absence can be a good indicator about the real condition of our surrounding environment.
By observing bees, we can understand what’s happening to the environment. This is because not only they are in the very center of the system, but also because they wander everywhere to collect nectar while pollinating.
Indeed, they might be underappreciated and overlooked, thus we need to raise more awareness about them. “Bees are a sign of well-functioning ecosystems,” as José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization said.
Those small insects you often run away from are apparently the treasure of our nature. They work relentlessly to keep our nature in order, and they don’t ask for anything in return. The only thing in their minds is to live and work.
What If They Go Extinct?
After knowing the real worth of bees, let’s use our imagination a little bit, and make it a little bit wild. What if the whole bee population in this planet suddenly disappear without any trace? What kind of scenario will come next?
At first, we might not feel any changes to our daily lives. Everything will still be as normal as it gets, and not so many people will realize about it. However, when we finally realize what actually happens, it would be too late.
Time after time, the yield of our crops will decrease slowly but steadily. The whole world would start to panic at this moment. The price of food crops will skyrocket, and the world’s economy will collapse in less than a year.
Some people would learn to eat from food sources they have never tried before, but the whole system would have already broken down to pieces by that moment. Honey would become an urban legend among people, and soon there would be a whole new generation that can never taste it.
Mental illness would become much more common, and poverty is everywhere. Indeed, our species might still be able to survive living in this planet without the presence of bees. However, in this scenario, we will live in total chaos in society. Yes, bees are ‘that’ important.
The Use of Bubbles
Some people might take it lightly, but these researchers from Japan do not want to risk everything. That’s why, while other people are working to keep the plan A (which is to save the bees population from declining), they are working on plan B.
The signs are starting to show. The number of bees flying around in our garden is declining, and it happens in the whole world. Without the intention to wish for the extinction of bees, the researchers are finding a way so that we can still pollinate the plants which bees use to pollinate.
They tried a lot of alternatives but the effectiveness was not pleasing. Until in one experiment, they decided to try using bubbles fired from bubble gun to pollinate plants. Surprisingly, this experiment resulted in 95% success rate.
“I was playing soap bubbles with my son at a park close to my home, when a soap bubble accidently hit my son’s face. There was no damage because soap bubbles are soft, light, and flexible. But I got an inspiration because I thought the bubbles won’t damage the flowers and would be an ideal material for pollination,” said Dr Eijiro Miyako, from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
From the experiment, he discovered that a bubble can carry up to 2000 pollen grains. Now, he and his team are working to bring this experiment further by using drone to shoot bubbles, so that they can do it more effectively. He also tries to find the perfect soap formula so it won’t include toxic materials like ordinary soaps.
Protecting The Bees Instead Of Bubbles
The decline of bee population worldwide is closely related to three things: habitat loss, climate change, and excessive use of chemical pesticide. All of them are preventable and mendable, meaning we can change the final output.
Habitat loss is preventable by building new habitat for bees to live and find food. It can be small gardens in the middle of our cities, in front of our homes, or in the roadside. What we need to do is to plant more flowering plants, and that’s all.
Second, we can also mend our climate by suppressing the consumption of fossil fuel. Renewable energy is the future, and luckily a lot of people are starting to convert into greener energy nowadays. While for the excessive use of pesticides, what’s need to be said? There are plenty other solutions to pests and weeds, instead of using pesticides, that organic farmers have done for decades.