Environmental group declares bees the most important species on Earth — but they're endangered. Here's how to protect them


Oct. 17 2019, Updated 12:10 p.m. ET

You may not enjoy bee stings — but whether or not you know it, you are enjoying the humble bee's role in the Earth's ecosystem. Recently, international environmental charity Earthwatch Institute declared bees to be the most important living species on Earth. The irony here (other than how most of us think of bees as nothing more than sting-machines) is that many bee species also happen to be on the endangered species list.

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Earthwatch Institute shared its findings in a meeting of the Royal Geographical Society of London this summer, as reported by The Science Times. To come to this conclusion, the Earthwatch Institute gathered and analyzed data, and found that nearly 90 percent of the global bee population has disappeared in recent years, primarily due to increased pesticide use, deforestation, and not enough flowers (therefore not enough pollen), The Science Times noted.

As noted by the USDA, bees are responsible for pollinating about 75 percent of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the U.S. The agency also notes that one out of every four bites of food we take in the U.S. is thanks to bee pollination. If bees went extinct, there's a chance we would eventually lose all the crops that bees pollinate, the BBC reported. 

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Luckily, more and more people are becoming aware of the bees' plight and are taking action — and we have the company BEEcosystem to thank for that. BEEcosystem is an indoor observation beehive that you can install either outside or inside your house. As explained by SimpleMost, the hexagonal structures come with a tube that connects the bees to the outside, so that they can go collect nectar, return to the hive, and produce honey to nourish themselves.

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Another person taking action for the bees? Morgan Freeman. In 2014, the famous actor turned his 124-acre Mississippi ranch into a bee sanctuary to help preserve wild bee populations. About two weeks after beginning his beekeeping journey, Freeman opened up about the process so far in an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

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As he explained on the show, after learning about the threats to bee populations and colony collapse disorder (CCD), he imported bees from Arkansas and let them build homes on his property, LiveKindly reported. CCD is when the worker bees disappear from a beehive, leaving behind a queen, immature bees, and only a few nurse bees, resulting in an essential collapse of that colony, according to the EPA.

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Freeman also told the Fallon that he does not take any honey from the bees, as per LiveKindly. Honey is food that bees make for themselves out of plant nectar and store in their hive, and it is never necessary for humans to take. Freeman proves that it is possible to help bees without purchasing honey — a process that in most instances, is more likely to harm bees than help them, especially if you are purchasing honey made by factory-farmed honeybees.

We may not all be able to open up our own bee sanctuaries or convince our families to let us install a BEEcosystem, but there are plenty of things we can do to help preserve and rehabilitate bee populations. One way to help is not purchasing honey — as LiveKindly notes, it is possible to support bees without taking their honey (plus, there are so many sweet alternatives that do not come from animals, such as maple syrup, agave, and Bee Free Honee). One easy way to do this is to plant pollinator-friendly plants in your yard that will provide bees with nectar.


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