No matter the pain caused by their stingers, the slow extinction of bees will hurt the world quite a bit more. Even the two million people in the U.S. who suffer from bee allergies need the pollination skills of their buzzing nemesis to survive. That's because in the U.S. alone bees pollinate and help grow more than $15 billion a year in crops—an essential component of the economy, food industry and, well, life. But they are disappearing because of colony collapse disorder—a global phenomena researchers believe is fueled by the environmental pressures of global warming, unsafe pesticides, parasites and increased land development, ultimately breaking up natural bee habitats. More than one-third of all crops around the world are pollinated by bees, meaning the global food economy relies on these tiny insects to get the job done.
But beautifying gardens and pollinating future salads is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bees. These insects can detect explosive devices, recognize faces, are visual learners and help patients with multiple sclerosis relieve pain through apitherapy. Bees understand and can process math and have the ability to teach one another how to make honey, build a hive and, of course, protect the queen. So what is the fate of mankind without these busy bodies? Check out this playlist to learn more about the importance of bee conservation.