Sunday, 24th February, was celebrated at National Bee Day, with an interesting programme held at Maharashtra Nature Park, Mumbai. Well, while most people may not be particularly fond by bees and would in fact like to keep a safe distance from them, their importance to us human beings should definitely not be underestimated. An often quoted saying, attributed to Albert Einstein, declares: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man." Although it is not certain if these are indeed the words of Einstein (he was a physicist not an apiologist), it is a warning we need to heed.
Bees are among the most important pollinators and their absence would cause the productivity of agriculture to fall dramatically. According to a U.N. report published in 2011, of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees. Unfortunately, bee populations across the world are facing a drastic decline. In U.K. the present bee population is half of what it was 25 years ago. In India, the population of the native Indian honey bee, , has declined by more than 20 percent in the last 10 years.