t’s that time of year again, the Pumpkin Spice Latte has made its return, pumpkin carving is fully in swing and exciting trips to pumpkin farms are being planned, signaling the start of autumn.
But new findings reveal that the pumpkins could soon be harder to get hold of because bees are imperative to pumpkin crop and without them, it will be almost impossible to keep up with demand.
The decline of bumblebees is mostly driven by climate change, with the planet getting warmer.
Their disappearance from a region means that they’ve either moved elsewhere or died.
But why could the future of the pumpkin be uncertain? Here is everything you need to know.
What is the link between pumpkins and bees?
Bees rely on a wildflower-rich habitat to thrive but, since the late 1930s, we have lost 97 per cent of wildflowers in the UK.
A declining bee population would seriously impact human-nutrition levels. With no bees to promote growth through pollination, we would eventually lose foods, pumpkins and other fruits and vegetables, and would have no choice but to rely on grains.
Foods like potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, garlic, apples, pears, raspberries, and even sugar would eventually die out.
Without bees, industries would collapse, the environment would suffer, and human-nutrition levels would fall to worryingly low levels.
Why are bees in decline?
“Bumblebees prefer a milder climate and naturally try to move north to escape rising temperatures. Normally, bumblebees hibernate during the winter, but there is now evidence of active bees and nests in December – a time when there is little food for the bees to forage. This could lead to the collapse of the bees’ whole colony,” director of the charity Bugs Life, Paul Hetherington, told Toolstation.
He added: “Many non-native species have now become established in the UK. Some of these are benign, but others may bring diseases that impact on our bees or even be new predators, such as the Asian hornet.”
What are other foods that could die out if bees become extinct?
Other foods that would die out include Jerusalem artichokes, marrows, plums, currants, blueberries, aubergine, cranberries, peas, brazil nuts, sloe berries, and hawthorn berries.
As well as horse chestnuts, broad beans, green beans, clover, squashes, melon, sprouts, beetroot, cabbage, mustard, cauliflower, and broccoli.
Is there anything we can do to prevent bees from going extinct?
A spokesperson at Tooltation said: “We’re all trying to do our bit to help the environment and, when it comes to bees, there is a range of things you can do to help protect whole colonies from demise.
“We would recommend creating nest sites or small bee hotels in your garden for wild bees. These can be DIYed by taking a small wooden box and sawing open one side for them to enter.
“Fill this side with any leftover small blocks of wood from your recent DIY jobs – drilling small holes in each small block of wood.
“Then create a sloping roof that looks just like the roof on your home for rain protection. Bees love the sun, so attach it to a sunny fence or wall in your garden and you have the perfect bee hotel!”
Or you could try planting more wildflowers and bee-friendly plants, like lavender and honeysuckle, even if you only have a balcony, to give bees the best possible habitat.
You can also try using less destructive chemicals in your garden where you can and avoid spraying open flowers, since this can harm any pollinators that may land on them.