To bee, or not to bee? Honey bees, Boolean logic, bits and information


  • Fiona Edwards Murphy Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE), School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), and Environmental Research Institute (ERI), University College Cork, Ireland.



What would happen if the honey bee disappeared from the face of the earth? Honey bees do not just produce the honey and wax we use every day; they serve the vitally important function of pollination, in which pollen is moved from one plant to another for fertilisation. 70 of the 100 crop species which provide 90% of food worldwide are pollinated by bees. The value of honey bee pollination to the global economy (€153 billion annually) now vastly outstrips the value of honey and beeswax combined. As the human population worldwide continues to grow, the demand for pollinator dependant crops will continue to increase proportionally. It is safe to say that the disappearance of the honey bee would pose a global crisis for humanity. In the past few years there has been a renewed buzz about the plight of the honey bee. A range of honey bee pests and ...