A world without bees would be a very sad world indeed, but that’s where we could be headed.
Due to climate change, the increased use of pesticides and a range of other factors, bee populations have decreased steadily over the past few years.
According to the British Beekeepers Association, one in three mouthfuls of the food we eat is dependent on pollination - particularly by bees. This means a declining bee population would inevitably have a detrimental impact on our food supply.
To highlight the severity of the issue, Fairmont.com has produced a series of gifs showing what mealtimes would look like without the crucial insects...
:: Almonds (granola) - almond blossoms rely entirely on pollination by bees.
:: Blueberries - 90% of all blueberry crops are pollinated by bees, therefore scarcity of the berries would send prices soaring.
:: Coffee - the coffee plant is self-pollinating but still needs cross-pollination from bees to develop healthy yields. The flower of the coffee tree is only open for pollination for three or four days, and if it does not get pollinated in that short window, the crop will become weaker and more prone to disease. Although coffee would be likely to exist without bees, it would become very expensive and rare.
:: Orange juice - 90% of orange trees depend on pollination by bees. There are some varieties that are self-pollinating, such as the Navel Orange.
:: Pumpkin seeds - are heavily dependent on squash bees and it is estimated that 90% of crops would disappear without them.
:: Rapeseed oil / spread - both are at risk from the decline of bees.
:: Raspberries - require insects to insure pollination as the crops otherwise would be misshapen, smaller and fewer.
:: Strawberries - bee pollination is not essential, but many farmers use bees to complement wind pollination as insect pollination can help produce berries of higher quantity and quality.
Lunch / Dinner
:: Cucumber - without bees, the majority of cucumber crops would not exist. It has been reported that cucumber farmers have already seen a significant decrease in their crop yields.
:: Mustard - one third of all mustard plants require bee pollination, meaning a significantly smaller dash of mustard to go with your meal.
:: Onions - are harvested before blooming and only require pollination when grown to produce seeds. Fewer bees would make it difficult and expensive for farmers to acquire seeds, which would result in a diminished supply and increased prices.
:: Peppers - bees are not entirely necessary to pollinate peppers as wind tends to circulate the pollen, but the quality and quantity is significantly improved when pollinated by insects.
:: Potatoes - although the potato plant does not require bee pollination to produce, it needs to be pollinated in order to breed, which means supply would most likely decrease significantly.
:: Sesame seeds - more than 80% of all pollination is performed by insects, and bees comprise nearly 80% of the total insect population.
:: Tomatoes - while most tomato types are self-pollinating, bees can help increase fruit production and quality significantly.
:: Apples - are heavily reliant on cross-pollination and are one of the foods that would suffer most if bees disappeared.
:: Blackberries - these berries are dependent upon bees for pollination. If bees died out, the effectiveness of pollination would drop and plants would produce significantly fewer seeds.
:: Kiwi - bumblebees are especially effective pollinators of kiwi fruits as their large and furry bodies carry a great amount of pollen.
:: Pumpkins - massively dependent on pollinators, it is estimated that 90% of pumpkin, squash and gourd crops would disappear with the bees.