Everyone knows that honey bees make the golden, sweet honey that we like to enjoy on toast or in tea. That’s not the only food product honey bees give us, though. These busy little pollinators help to produce a third of our food supply. Bees and other pollinators are an essential part of growing crops like almonds, apples, berries, and much, much more. Without bees to spread pollen and help plants thrive, these crops would decline—or even disappear entirely. Learn more about why we need to protect our bees with this overview of how honey bees benefit the food industry.
The Importance of Pollination
The agriculture industry needs pollinators. Bees—as well as bats, butterflies, and other pollinators—work to spread pollen from flower to flower. This process allows the plants to reproduce, grow, and thrive. Without the services of these essential creatures, crop fields wouldn’t be able to grow as abundantly as they do now. Even beyond our crops, pollinators are beneficial to plants like clover and alfalfa, which farmers use to feed their cattle. Without pollination, many of the plants we rely on would fade away, leaving us without some of our favorite fruits, nuts, vegetables, and other produce.
Honey Bee Services
Pollination is a vital part of agriculture, but how do honey bees benefit the food industry specifically? Honey bees stand out among pollinators for their hard work and widespread efforts. A honey bee can visit hundreds of flowers in a single foraging trip, spreading pollen among all of them. Honey bees are so useful that many farmers even rent bee colonies to help pollinate their crops for a season. The bees will spend the spring in a hive near the crop fields, where they can forage and pollinate flowering crops and help create a plentiful harvest for us to enjoy.
Threats To Our Bees and Crops
A threat to honey bees is a threat to our food supply. Unfortunately, many dangers plague modern bee populations. Climate change, habitat loss, and the use of chemical pesticides all pose a risk to bees and other pollinators. Fortunately, there are ways for farmers and gardeners to increase their local bee populations. Stop using pesticides in your fields and gardens, and be sure to plant bee-friendly flowers that are rich in pollen and nectar. You can also support local beekeepers, who strive to protect their colonies and preserve the vital bee population in your area.