The United States is populated by about 4,000 species of bees belonging to nine different families. These include such familiar members as the bumbling bumble bee, the sweet honeybee and the busy carpenter bee. All of these bees perform invaluable services to our world as pollinators.
Bees and Pollination
Plants reproduce through pollination, which refers to the pollen transfer from the male part of the plant to the female part of the plant. Once the pollen has been transferred, a new fruit, seed or nut can form. Plants often depend on the wind or animals to help with reproduction, and bees are among the most effective pollinators because they have pockets and hairs on their legs that tend to collect large volumes of pollen and they focus their attentions on one type of plant at a time. This allows for more and better quality pollination with each trip a bee makes.
The Benefits of Bees
About a third of crops benefit directly or indirectly from bees’ visits. Honeybees and other pollinating creatures, including hummingbirds, bats and butterflies, are estimated to help produce millions of dollars worth of agricultural crops. Some of these foods include apples, asparagus, blueberries, broccoli, cantaloupes, cherries, cucumbers, cranberries, watermelons, pumpkins and almonds. Honey is another food we would not have without bees....