The sun is filling the sky with radiant yellow and gold on this frosty, California morning and most swimmers are lining behind the pool entrance. They are stealing glares between the bars hoping to catch a brief glimpse of a lifeguard that will open the door. Finally, after grabbing their gear bag, finding an open lane and marking their territory they are eager to jump in and cram a workout session before hauling themselves to a long day at work. They dive in ready to start their warm up when they recognize a familiar, fuzzy figure above the water. It is a bee. Most individuals would find it tempting to push these creatures into the gutters in order to return to their swim. However, these insects play an integral role in our environment and their existence must be preserved.
Bees are the greatest pollinators when it comes to agriculture. They allow a variety of fruit such as: apples, watermelon, berries, squash, plum, pumpkins, etc to thrive. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Services, pollinators are integral to the environment because they instigate the flowering plant production. When bees visit fragrant flowers, the pollen produced by the plant attaches to the insects’ legs and fuzzy body. When the bees migrate to other flowers with the pollen. As a result, the haploid male genetic material from the anther or one flower finds its way into the stigma another. This interaction is known as cross-pollination. The seeds produced as a result of this natural interaction allows new life to emerge. Our society relies on agriculture to feed the dramatically increasing population. However, the number of bees are decreasing due to habitat destruction and pesticide use. According to the Nature Conservancy, the number dropped from 4 million to 2.5 million in the 1970s alone. Today, the numbers continue to decrease. Without these pollinators, our crops will not be properly fertilized and our food supply will diminish along with the bees.
Although it may seem as though one bee pushed into the pool gutters may not destroy the earth itself, this action repeated will certainly lead to a future in which more individuals struggle to obtain the basic means of survival. As an alternative, swimmers could simply use their goggles or kickboards to scoop these critters from the pool. The bees would proceed to dry off and then continue to carry out their daily duties. However, being mindful of bees does not apply to just the pool. By simply adding native plants to the backyard, decreasing the use of pesticides, and purchasing from local honey distributors, the population of bees will regenerate and continue to serve its remarkable function.