HOW BEES POLLINATE

Pollination is how plants reproduce. About 90% of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollination by animals, mostly insects. [1] Bees in particular have special adaptations and behaviors that make them very important pollinators. But did you know bees don’t pollinate our plants on purpose? It actually occurs as a result when they visit flowers to gather food for themselves and their young.

POLLEN

A bee collects nectar and pollen from a flower blossom. Some pollen from the stamen (the flower’s male reproduction organ) sticks to the bee’s hair.

PISTIL

When the bee visits its next flower, some of this pollen rubs off onto the pistil (the flower’s female reproductive organ).

FERTILIZATION

That simple transfer of pollen fertilizes the flower, which eventually leads to new fruits, vegetables, garden flowers, legumes, nuts and other plants.

HOW BEES IMPACT OUR FOOD SUPPLY

Bees are responsible for pollinating nearly 1/3 of our food, including about 900 food crops worldwide. Their pollination of 60–70% of the world’s flowering plant species also contributes to production of fruits and seeds that other animal species depend on. [2]

Bees make it possible for us to enjoy countless fruits, vegetables and nuts. Here are just a few of the healthy foods we wouldn’t have without their pollination services: apples, almonds, asparagus, broccoli, blueberries, cashews, cauliflower, cranberries, cucumbers, cantaloupes, cherries, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, pumpkins, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelons.

Bees contribute to higher crop yields, as well as size and quality of fruits produced. Research conducted on berry farms has shown that pollination from native bees could boost production up to 36% on one farm alone. [3] Other crops that are typically wind-pollinated or self-pollinated are sometimes more productive when visited by bees.

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