Pollination and Pesticides
Pollination is the essential process needed for flowering plants to reproduce. Plants rely on wind or water, or insects to transfer pollen from the male parts of flowers to the female parts of flowers. That’s why all pollinator insects are vital for the whole eco-system and food chain. And possibly the Bees are considered Star Pollinators, being responsible for over one-third of the global pollination.
When a Bee collects nectar and pollen from the flower of a plant, some pollen from the stamens sticks to the hairs on her body; and when she visits the next flower, some of this pollen is rubbed off and fertilization happens.
What is fascinating is how plants have adapted, over time, to become more attractive to insect pollinators. Bees are drawn to plants not just for the shape and colors, but also a flower’s scent can have particular appeal to Bees. Bees and humans don’t see things the same way; bees, for instance, can see UV light and the patterns act like a landing zone, guiding the bees to the most amount of nectar and pollen.
Sadly, the extensive use of pesticides is having a long-term negative impact on this vital process. Some pesticides used in combination with others can kill a variety of insects, Bees included; some others dramatically inhibit their basic tasks such as olfactory learning, foraging, and reproduction. Some pesticides simply reduce the number of flowering plants available, literary starving pollinators. Reduced pollination means reduced flowering plants and their fruits (Apples, Berries, Pears, Pumpkins, Cucumbers, Beans, Grapes …). This affects the whole food chain.
We start to see some good news. Some of the world’s most widely used synthetic insecticides (Neonicotinoids) would be banned from all fields across Europe by the end of 2017. But it’s not enough.
That’s why as consumers, buying certified organic produce where only organic pesticides are used, means not just buying clean products, but also slowing this very dangerous process of reduced pollination.