The effects of bees and pollinating insects

Insects live everywhere. Some people hate them and some people love them. We wanted to investigate what would happen if there were no more bees or pollinating insects in the canton of Zurich and take a look at the effects that would occur from this. Would it be devastating if there were no more Insects around? Could the human race survive or would everything come to a slow end? To find this out, we asked ourselves a few questions that are below and we also went to an experienced farmer to ask him what he thinks and how he thinks things are evolving in our current environment.

What products would no longer be around, if there were no pollinating insects?

87% of all flowering plants are dependent on the pollination of insects. In particular, various types of fruit and vegetables would be affected by a decrease in pollination, including apples, pears, tomatoes, courgettes and almonds. In Europe alone, there are over 4,000 vegetables that come to be because of buzzing insects whose economic benefits are globally estimated at 265 billion euros.

Honeybees? What other insects do also pollinate?

Bees, bumblebees (Hummeln), butterflies, hoverflies (Schwebfliegen), moths, hymenoptera (Hautflüglerarten) and beetles (Käfer) belong to the pollinator insects.

Are pollinators in trouble?

Pollinators require natural spaces with vegetation and flowering plants in which to live and search for their food, pollen and nectar. The main causes for pollinator habitat loss is agriculture, mining and human development along with no native plants and animals being introduced into their environment.

Does the decline in the number of pollinators also come from climate change?

According to an online article, Dr. Karen Robbirt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the University of East Anglia (UEA) states the following: “We have shown that plants and their pollinators show different responses to climate change and that warming will widen the timeline between bees and flowers emerging,” “If replicated in less specific systems, this could have severe implications for crop productivity.”

Furthermore, the eco system is disrupted. Scientists have already identified a few timing mismatches caused by global warming between species and their prey. For example: Oak tree buds are eaten by winter moths, whose caterpillars are in turn fed by great tits to their chicks, but the synchronicity of all these events has been disrupted. A critical opinion is offered in this german article about bees and global warming on

Image credits: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab Rights information: Public Domain

Interview with Christian Guyer in German about the effects that pollinators have on our environment

Christian Guyer’s organic farm is located in Seegräben, Canton Zurich. He is specialized in local fruit production (e.g. apples, pears and all kind of berries)

Was geschieht mit der Landwirtschaft, wenn Bestäuber Insekte ausfallen?

Bauern welche Blattgemüse und Getreide anpflanzen könnten weiterleben, da diese Windbestäubt werden. Ich persönlich hätte nur wenig Ertrag ohne die Bestäuber Insekten.

Mit welchen Verlusten müssten Sie persönlich rechnen?

Alles Obst, Erbsen, Bohnen, Tomaten, Oberschienen, Zucchetti, Kürbisse, Beeren, alle Beitragspflanzen aus den Ökowiesen, Windblumen (kein direkter Ertrag) und fast alle Blütenpflanzen.

Kartoffeln können zwar überleben, jedoch können neuen Sorten gezüchtet werden. Dies ist ein indirekter mittelfristiger Schaden der erst Wirkungen in zirka 20 Jahren zeigen würde.

Wie viel % würden wegfallen?

90% ohne Subventionen und ohne Insekten-Bestäubung würden wegfallen.

Ich bin sehr angewiesen auf die Insekten-Bestäubung.

Welche Lösungsansätze würden Sie verfolgen?

Keine Lösungsansätze, da es für mich nicht mehr rentieren würde.

Here we have a statistic of potatoes and vegetables, which show how much area would be lost if there were no more pollinators

Year 2014 Total agricultural land (ha) Area for vegetables (ha) Area for potatoes (ha)
851.71 14.32 1.50
Loss of agricultural land in % 1.68% 0.17%



How much honey is produced every day by bees?

  1. 15 kg
  2. 1 kg
  3. 5 kg

How many apiary’s (Bienenstöcke) are there in the Canton of Zurich?

  1. 507
  2. 22’376
  3. 2275

Sources Climatecentral, Greenpeace, nps, Stadt Zürich

Team Zurich: Matthias, Noemi, Neila

☷ See the project teams here »
☵ Some words about the contributions »

6 thoughts on “The effects of bees and pollinating insects

  1. Hello
    It is a really interesting article. I think it makes the reader become aware that there is a problem in the decline of bees.
    However there are some things missing. You showed the interview you made with Christian Guyer but you didn’t mention who he is or how he is involved in this topic.
    Additionally I think that there is too little information about the impact of the decline of pollinating insects. You could have mentioned for example that certain areas in China have exact these kind of problems.

  2. The whole content is very interesting. You’ve chosen a good problematic. But I think it would be more interesting, if you write more about consequences without pollinating insects.
    I like that you did an Interview. It’s very interesting to hear the opinion of someone who can’t live without the bees and other insects.
    I like the pictures. The most aren’t selfmade, but I think it’s okey. I’d like some more pictures.
    The whole content is very interesting and varied with numbers, pictures, interview etc. Well done.

  3. Hello
    I read your article and I found it quite nice. There was a lot of information about bees and other pollination insects and how they help our environment. I think it was a very good idea to interview a person which is specialised on this topic. The only thing was that I think the interview was a bit short and not so informative. Maybe you can make a bigger interview the next time. Nevertheless, I learned a bit more about insects.

  4. Hey guys
    It was very interesting reading all the Information you’ve gathered in this article.
    Before I didn’t really know what it would really mean if our pollinating insects would become extinct. It made me think a lot about the Impact that I personally have on our Environment and I wonder if there’s anything that “common” people could do to prevent this dying of those insects.

    Really nice article.

  5. Hello
    Thank you for this very interesting post. For us it wasn’t clear how important bees and other pollunating insects are for humans and animal lifes. Your Pop quiz was a bit short but very instructive.
    We enjoyed alot to read it. Keep on producing posts like this.
    Nina, Lorena, Lisa

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