You know when you think of gardening and picture shovels and rakes, slaving over that patch of earth, desperately trying to rid it of weeds before the rain sets in, turning the ground to sludge? Or walking back and forth forever with your back hunched, stooping to sow the little seeds, sometimes getting a meager harvest, or none at all? But do you think of sitting down and admiring your work, a job well done? Watching those black and yellow things, buzzing through the clematis, or the shiny eyed animal burying its nuts under a tree? Well, they are workers that never rest, never sitting down to admire their work, and without them the ecosystem would crumble. They are the pollinators and dispersers.
In “The Bee Movie”, a bee finds out humans are stealing their honey and demands it should be returned. However, there is so much honey returned, there is no reason for bees to pollinate, so everything dies. In the end, they resolve it, but it really shows how important pollinators are. It doesn’t show it in the movie, but as the bees stop pollination and the plants (producers) die, there’s nothing left for consumers to eat, having a knock on effect up the food chain, affecting us as well.
Now, bees aren’t just the only pollinators. Flies, wasps and butterflies are just some of them. There are also dispersers, such as blackbirds and squirrels. Some plants can self disperse, but most need help, like the rowan tree that has shiny red berries, which look so good to birds or small children. The birds eat the berries and spread the seeds. Squirrels bury acorns and some grow into trees and others they get to eat. Bees spread the pollen and get the nectar.
So maybe we think it’s not worth it. Or maybe you believe Doctor Who and think bees come from the planet Melissa Majoria and are aliens, but really, they are a massive part of gardening and we couldn’t live without them. Sometimes it may be hard and the crop – poor, but remember who never stops working, never gets a rest and is never thanked. So let’s all thank the bees and birds, and squirrels and remember they do a lot of the work and however pointless it may seem, remember the feeling you get when you sit down for super, look at your plate and think: I grew that. Me and the seed dispersers or pollinators made this food together, and I am proud of it.