UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS, 2010

A bee collecting pollen in a sunflower

Kooren

© Reuters / Michael Kooren


In a community of different living forms, these all interact with each other, co-evolving together over time. Everything in the world is connected to everything else and so the fate of a bee is also inextricably linked to that of man. Bees are the first workers in the great chain that brings food to our tables. Protagonists in the work of plant pollination, they transport pollen from the anther to the stigma of the flowers, allowing growth of the fruits and seeds of over 90% of wild flowers and 75% of the main food crops used by man for his diet.
At its peak of activity, a single colony can pollinate more than 300 million flowers every day - an impressive workforce, but one that is in danger of being lost. The decline of bees, together with many other pollinating insects, has been a worldwide cry of alarm for years. The causes are uncertain, but seem to lie not only in the spread of the Varroa destructor mite, but also in the use of insecticides such as neonicotinoids in agriculture. Added to these are pollution, loss of plant biodiversity and climate change. Bees tip the scales in terms of the health of the ecosystem and their disappearance would mean the death of many plants that depend on them, as well as many animals associated with these, including humans. This subtle yet indissoluble link between living beings is maintained by the tireless work of the bee, which, without expecting much in return, also safeguards human lives.

Matteo Schiavinato