Innovation is taking a central place in supporting pollinator’s well-beeing.
Playing Google’s interactive Earth Day Doodle inspired me to write about the importance of keeping our planet safe and healthy. Although it seems the world stopped because of the pandemic disease COVID-19, we need to remember it is still spinning and our job is to make it perfect, again. This year we are marking the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by honoring little bees. In the interactive game on Google, we have the opportunity to learn more about the bees’ life and most importantly why they are so precious little creatures.
Bees, the little pollinators and honey-makers, are responsible for making one-third of the food we consume, every day (and throwing it away, sadly). Countless ecosystems’ health and prosperity depend on their well-being, including animals and humans. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, more than half of North America’s 4,000 native bee species are in decline, with 1 in 4 species at risk of extinction. Losing them sounds quite terrible. Especially considering their huge role in agriculture which contributes to over $15 billion to the value of US crop production.
What can we do?
Countless government initiatives and private contributors are supporting innovators from all corners of the world in order to invent new technology and work toward setting this huge task of saving the bees. Innovations worldwide are taking place in mitigating the effects of all the factors causing their extinction. They range from the increasing use of synthetic pesticides to high temperatures, or dangerous fungi growing due to high humidity. If you take a look at already successful innovations in this area, you may find inspiration and take steps to increase the likelihood of bees’ survival.
BIODEGRADABLE PAPER PROTECTS DECLINING BEE POPULATIONS
The loss of habitat due to increased industrialization makes bees travel quite long distances in order to find some plants. It leads to their exhaustion and death, in most cases. In order to help bees survive under these circumstances, there is an innovation that provides energy shots for them during their travel. This innovation is designed as a biodegradable paper containing glucose paste and honey plant seeds. With only 0.5 kg of this paste, there are thousands of bees that can feed on it. This is a project from Saatchi & Saatchi IS Warsaw in collaboration with City Bees and manufactured by Manufaktura Papireu Czerpanego w Kobyłce.
NATURAL PESTICIDE DOES NOT HARM INSECTS
Due to the increased use of synthetic pesticides, bees are literally poisoned and this is a huge cause of their high extinction rate. Somebody would think that we know better, but yet, this is an enormous challenge. Professor Thomas Brück and his team at the Department of Industrial Biotechnology have been working with the tobacco plant to help solve this issue. The tobacco plant produces a natural repellent to protect itself. It is called cembratrienol and the researchers first isolated the parts of the tobacco genome responsible for the production of this natural pesticide and then inserted it into the genome of E. coli bacteria. The genetically modified bacteria are grown in controlled conditions and then the pesticide is separated out in sufficient quantities to be used as a spray. This pesticide does not harm beneficial insects. So, it is a win-win!
DUTCH CITY TURNS BUS STOPS INTO BEE STOPS
The Netherlands has always been known for its innovative solutions. The province of Utrecht designed a project to decorate 316 bus stops with green roofs to support bee pollination. 56% of bee species in the Netherlands are currently in danger of extinction. Turning the bus stops into green hubs is a way to encourage the process of pollination. These roofs are decorated with sedum plants and one of the main reasons is their low need for maintenance. Of course, this project has many other benefits such as improving air quality, cooling the summer air, and storing rainwater as well. There is an initiative for residents to turn their own rooftops into green hubs, offering compensation to the ones with a roof over 20 square meters.
MEXICAN CAMPAIGN CREATES BEEHIVES OUT OF USED STRAWS
Last Straw represents the campaign to save bees while reducing the plastic waste. The idea is to encourage people to stop using straws. A result of partnering between the digital marketing agency Flock Linked by Isobar, honey producers Son de Miel and digital production company Praxlab, the campaign is made to create man-made beehives entirely out of used plastic straws. What the team discovered is standard straws are the same size as Apis Melligera honeycomb cells and also made from the same type of plastic used to manufacture artificial beehives. It was a signal that bees are more likely to accept the straw-based beehive. Professional beekeepers and academics were assigned to the project to assure the quality of the work done. One of the most important news about this is that the prototype is already hosting a bee colony. You can also find plans for man-made beehives online for free!
This was a short presentation of the already successful projects designed to keep the bees safe and alive. If you want to spread awareness and perform the socially-responsible action in your company, you may want to include all of your employees to contribute to this cause. There are many traditional ways to do that but we recommend the use of innovation management software as it holds many advantages of the digital world we already live in.