There’s a lot of buzz (Ha!) in the blogosphere about whether Albert Einstein really made the statement “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left to live.”
In this blog, they say he was speaking in regard to the symbiotic relationship of all life on the planet–should any part of the global body suffer, so does the whole body. This lead to a really interesting discussion by the wikipedia authors of the CCD page, which I’ve included below.
I have to agree with the Wiki editors–I can’t find an original source citation anywhere.
Just because it was a Physicist that said it, though, I don’t discount it. There are lots of famous beekeepers that were also scientists. Aristotle, Pythagorous, Gregor Mendel, Ben Franklin, and Sir Edmund Hillary are some names that spring to mind. (I guess Sherlock Holmes doesn’t quite count.)
It makes for a nice story, and I’d like to imagine Einstein fiddling with hives in the summer….
From Wikipedia discussion:
“Despite the unsourced quotes in your references above, there is still some question if the quote is authentic. See: Einstein biographer unaware of Einstein’s Bee quote  and a political comedian using the quote in his monologue is certainly not proof that it was attributed to Einstein. – 14:40, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
I have certainly found the citation in German on a quotes site at [6} which is clearly attributed to German born Albert Einstein. “Wenn die Biene einmal von der Erde verschwindet, hat der Mensch nur noch vier Jahre zu leben. Keine Bienen mehr, keine Bestäubung mehr, keine Pflanzen mehr, keine Tiere mehr, kein Mensch mehr.” However, the page does not provide a context for it.
Albert Einstein was a strong advocate of Socialism. In his 1949 Monthly review article “Why Socialism?” he contrasts humans and bees and their fixed social behavior “It is evident, therefore, that the dependence of the individual upon society is a fact of nature which cannot be abolished — just as in the case of ants and bees. However, while the whole life process of ants and bees is fixed down to the smallest detail by rigid, hereditary instincts, the social pattern and interrelationships of human beings are very variable and susceptible to change.” …It would not surprise me at all if he looked at nature for many answers to his questions. 14:23, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
I found several references to a short form of the Einstein quote “No bees, no food for mankind. The bee is the basis of life on this earth.”  This page was created in 2003. 15:13, 3 May 2007 (UTC)