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What would happen if the honeybee became extinct?

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Quick Answer

Deteriorating bee populations, or their extinction, may have a devastating effect on a wide range of agricultural and other plant life the world over. In particular, the disappearance of the honeybee may drastically reduce the number of crops any given country has the capacity to produce. Additionally, the quantity of flower life present in an ecosystem may fall radically as well.

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Full Answer

Since 2006, bee experts, scholars and agriculturalists have been pointing to an alarming shift in bee population and quality in the United States and Europe. Pesticides used by farmers are thought to contribute to this widespread decline. In 2008, the Natural Resources Defense Council reported that without bees to continue pollinating crops, the United States alone could lose between 15 and 20 billion dollars worth of harvested produce. The effects may not be solely financial, but dietary and nutritional as well. The population stands to lose nearly 60 different foods, including melons, berries, avocados, olives, squash, broccoli, soy beans and alfalfa.

In 2013, the European Union imposed a two-year ban on the one of the most used pesticides, neonicotinoids, suspected to harm bees, a move that reveals how dire the situation is perceived to be. Scholar and author Evaggelos Vallianatos says that not only does the prospective bee extinction present the likely eradication of many crops, but entire wildflower populations could face the same fate as well. The loss of so much vegetation may lead to an increasingly sterile and toxic environment on earth.

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