Have you ever heard someone say that bees are responsible for one of every three bites of food you eat? While it’s impossible to calculate exactly the role of bees in food production, it is clear that bees play a vital role.
Most food crops — including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — must be pollinated. Pollination is the process of transferring tiny pollen cells from one part of a plant to another part, so that the plant can produce seeds.
Pollination is accomplished mainly through insects. Of all the insects that pollinate plants and flowers, bees are by far the most important. Bees play a crucial role in maintaining thriving plant communities.
If you’re wondering why bees are such good pollinators, it’s because they spend most of their lives collecting pollen. For bees, pollen is a primary source of protein that they collect to feed to their young babies.
When bees land on flowers, the hairs on their legs attract pollen cells through a force like static electricity. The bees store some of this pollen to take back to their nests. Other bits of pollen get transferred to other flowers, completing the process of pollination.
Did you realize that a bee can visit up to 5,000 flowers in a single day? If you think that’s amazing, consider this: to make one pound of honey, a hive of bees must travel over 55,000 miles and visit two million flowers!