The disappearance of bees in recent years has reached a point so critical that United States President Barack Obama has launched a task force aimed at saving honey bees and other pollinators like butterflies and birds, CNN reports.
Without pollination, plants would not be able to make seeds or reproduce. That's why the multi-agency task force is being charged with "understanding, preventing and reversing" the collapse of honey bees, according to a White House press release.
"Pollinators contribute more than 24 billion dollars to the United States economy, of which honey bees account for more than 15 billion dollars through their vital role in keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets," the White House said.
Honey bees allow the production of at least 90 commercially grown crops in North America and, along with other animal pollinators, affect 35% of the global food production, the White House said.
Scientists believe that bee losses are likely caused by a combination of stressors, including poor bee nutrition, loss of forage lands, parasites, pathogens, lack of genetic diversity, and exposure to pesticides, according to the White House.
To illustrate the severity of the problem, here's a glimpse of what your local grocery store would look like without bees:
Activists and researchers have been drawing attention to the issue for years. Over in Berkeley, Alice Waters has contributed her grain of sand by developing the Bee Experimental Education in Schools, which places a beehive in every middle school and trains children in how to catch and maintain insects.