Thursday, 7 June 2007

Is This the Most Important Animal in the World?

I was watching Springwatch last night and Bill Oddie said something that I had heard before, and it resonated. If all the bees in the world were wiped out then the human species would die out within seven years! That may sound alarmist but it does emphasise how important bees are in the natural world. No pollinators no food. There are other pollinators than bees, but they are the vast majority. Bees are in the superfamily Apoidiea. There are slightly fewer than 20,000 known species of bee, though many are undescribed and the actual number is probably higher. They are found on every continent except Antarctica in every habitat on the planet that contains flowering plants.

In the UK many of our Bumble bees, there are currently 22 species are declining, which is sad as they are beautiful creatures. The can be difficult to identify,but I think that this one is the Buff-tailed Bumble-bee, Bombus terrestris, one of the commonest species. It is feeding on another of the "wild" plants growing in the garden, Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber), it is a native of the Mediterranean region but has become naturalised in the UK and many other parts of the world. It attracts many bees, butterflies and moths and is a must in a wild-life garden.

This is my 200th posting on this blog and its has been an enjoyable experience, I hope to continue to the next century.


tut-tut said...

Congrats on 200!

Bees in the U.S. are apparently "mysteriously" disapearing. Perhaps all the agribusiness is to blame.

Josy said...

Congratulations! Here's to 200 more!

...that, is, of course, if bees are still pollinating the grape flowers and allowing us to make celebretory wines.