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Kelli Fisher
Dr. Cassel
Intro to Expository Writing
3 December 2016
UnBEElievably Important
Picture this. Its a hot day in the middle of summer time. As you go to the fridge to reach
for your favorite summertime snack, you realize that you are out of strawberries and watermelon.
You drive to the store and stroll to the fruits and vegetable section of the grocery store. In large
bold red letter, you read a sign that says, These Items Listed Below Will Not Be Sold
Anymore. Your heart pounding, you race over to the sign as you read it in disbelief. The list
includes some of your favorite foods such as strawberries, apples, peaches, cherries, avocados,
carrots, watermelon, broccoli, raspberries, tomatoes, grapes, and many other enjoyable fruits and
vegetables. After asking a manager nearby about the problem, he responds by telling you it is the
result of the extinction of the bees. Although most people do not know about their importance or
endangerment, bees need to be saved because they balance the eco-system and they pollinate
crops.
Pollination can be defined as the process of transferring pollen to the female reproductive
part of a plant which allows it to undergo fertilization. In order for this process to work, some
type of pollinator is required. There are all kinds of pollinators which would include the wind,
wasps, bees, birds, monkeys, rodents, and even humans. Although there are many different types
of pollinators, bees are the most common. In a study posted on the Annals of Botany, the
researchers stated, the production and diversity of agriculture seem to depend to a large extent
on biotic pollination, particularly on the service provided by the honey-bee (Apis mellifera), the

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single most important pollinator species (Aizen and Garibaldi 1579). Bees in general are
exceedingly important because they pollinate the most plants and crops out of any other mammal
or insect.
Bees play a huge role in our eco-system. These systems are an exceedingly delicate.
When one part becomes unbalanced, then the rest of the entire system can be thrown off too. One
way to think about an eco-system is a pyramid of cards. As soon as one card is taken out of the
pyramid, then the whole thing will collapse due to lack of support. However, what would happen
if multiple cards were taken out at once? This situation can be applied to the great loss of bees.
First, many changes to the environment have caused a great stress on the species. The process of
rapid urbanization has caused a huge habitat loss for bees to thrive and survive (Voeller and
Nieh). Humans are tearing down large sections of wild life to build homes, stores, and roads for
themselves. This causes limited food and shelter resources for the bees to live. As competition
for survival skyrockets, the amount of dying bees increases as well. Another environmental
factor that is killing off the species is pesticides (Voeller and Nieh). These are used on crops to
kill pesky insects that want to eat or destroy the fruits these plants produce. However, pesticides
do not know the difference between pest and pollinator. This would be another contributing
factor to the decreasing population. As a result of these ecological shifts, this causes even more
detrimental environmental changes. For example, in a report for agricultural pollinators, authors
Marcelo Aizen and Lucas Garibaldi conclude the following:
Even the limited direct reduction in agricultural production expected under increasing
pollinator shortages may impose a disproportionate demand for agricultural land to meet
growing global consumption, which will accelerate habitat destruction and may cause
further pollinator losses. (Aizen and Garibaldi 1587)

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This means that as the bee population declines, there will be a shortage in the production of
crops. Even though the supply of crops is down, there will still be a high demand for crops from
the ever growing human population. As a result, people will want to expand agricultural sites by
cutting down more of the pollinators habitat. This would put even more stress on the continually
decreasing colonies of bees. As one can see, the eco-system is a precious cycle that can be easily
disrupted. Bees play a major role in the balance of this system.
The process of pollination plays a massive role in the development of crops in this
country. According to Jennifer Holland from the National Geographic News,
About a third of our foods (some 100 key crops) rely on these insects, including apples,
nuts, all the favorite summer fruits (like blueberries and strawberries), alfalfa (which
cows eat), and guar bean (used in all kinds of products). In total, bees contribute more
than $15 billion to U.S. crop production, hardly small potatoes.
It is no small task to pollinate one third of our food in the United States. In addition, the
pollination of these crops generates a huge income for some people in America. Many farmers
and beekeepers rely on this species to make money. This allows them to live their day to day
lives by paying for food and housing. No, we wouldnt starve without their servicesmuch of
the world lives without managed pollinators, says Holland. But wed lose an awful lot of good,
healthy food, from cherries and broccoli to onions and almonds (National Geographic). This
means that even though many fruits and vegetables would be gone, there would still be other
foods for us to eat that are not affected by any kind of pollination process. That being said, what
many people do not realize is that there would be plenty of other foods that would disappear with
the bees. For example, nuts are pollinated by bees. Without nuts, there would be no peanut butter.
In addition, these foods are an essential part of a persons daily diet. Most people would not get

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the essential nutrients needed because they would no longer be made available to people. Bees
pollinating plants and crops allows many Americans to live normally.
Not only have hundreds of articles been written on the subject, but pictures and cartoons
are also being used to spread the word about this bee crisis. Peter Oumanski drew a cartoon to
compliment the article that Markham Heid wrote for TIME Magazine titled You Asked: Are the
Honeybees Still Disappearing?. This photo, pictured below, is meant to draw out the viewers
attention. The goal is to intrigue the reader to read the article or to try and understand the deeper

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meaning of the colorful cartoon.

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https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/you-asked-missing-honey-bees.jpg?
quality=85&w=1100
The picture shown above, is drawn by Oumanski. He used bright colors to
provoke the viewer. He made background colors such as the grass and the sky very bright
orange, red, and some yellow. Oumanski did this to draw our attention to an essential of our
planet. We need these plants to create oxygen for all life to breathe. Without it, our planet would
perish. In another part of the picture, the trees and bushes are black, and the grass is orange. His
use of color would cause us to assume that essential plants on our planet are dead or dying
quickly. This should be alarming to every viewer. Without oxygen, we would all suffocate. There
would be no life left on earth. This destruction of the precious eco-system is all caused from the
limited bee population. Taking care of the bees are just as important as taking care of the plants.
Without one or the other, the entire ecosystem will collapse.
On the other side of this debate, some people believe that the dying of the bee species or
other pollinators is not important. They think that the extinction of this species will have limited
to no effect on the human race or the eco-system at large. These people know that there are other
pollinators in the world that can do the job for bees. In some regions of the world, no pollinators
are needed to allow plants to grow and then reproduce. There are a few things that are right and
wrong about this thought process. First, it is true that in some places around the globe that
pollinators are not needed to grow and allow plants to reproduce. This is what is called selfpollination. This process occurs when a plant or flower has both a male and female reproductive
system in the same house of the plant. By opening, closing, or movement of the plant or flower
parts, the pollen is transferred to the stigma or the ovule. This fertilization allows plants and
flowers to produce seeds. In turn when the conditions are just right, the seeds will grow into

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offspring of the previous plant. In addition, it is proven that bees are an important part of our
eco-system as described above. Although many crops would no longer be healthy or even able to
reproduce, there would be other crops in the world that the human race could survive off of. As a
result, the bees dying off would greatly affect the crops we produce and the balance of the ecosystem.
A balanced eco-system and the pollination of many important crops are the two most
important factors that result from the existence of the bee species. Their endangerment is a
problem, and they need to be saved. Next time you go to the store to pick out your favorite fruits
and vegetables, make sure you remember the bees. Remember how important they are in the
process of getting that large, healthy fruit into the palm of your hand. If something is not done to
help these amazing insects, not only will you never see another bee again, but you will never
taste some of the most delicious fruits and vegetables ever again.

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Works Cited
Aizen, Marcelo A., Lucas A. Garibaldi, Saul A. Cunningham, and Alexandra M. Klein. "Lesson
from Longterm Trends in Crop Production." Doi:10.1093/aob/mcp076, Available Online at
Www.aob.oxfordjournals.org How Much Does Agriculture Depend on Pollinators?
Lessons from Long-term Trends in Crop Production (2009): 1579-588. 01 Apr. 2009. Web.
03 Dec. 2016.
Benjamin, Alison. "Why Are Bees Important? You Asked Google Here's the Answer | Alison
Benjamin." The Autocomplete Questions. Guardian News and Media, 17 June 2015. Web.
03 Dec. 2016.
Heid, Markham. You Asked: Are the Honeybees Still Disappearing?. Time. Time, 15 Apr.
2015. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
Holland, Jennifer S. "The Plight of the Honeybee." National Geographic. National Geographic
Society, 10 May 2013. Web. 03 Dec. 2016.
Voeller, Dylan, and James Nieh. "3 & 4." Why Are Bees Ecologically Important? N.p., n.d. Web.
03 Dec. 2016.

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