Why Are Bees Important To The Environment And Garden?
Bees may seem like a nuisance, but a world without their presence is far less exciting and beautiful than the reality we have now. Bees pollinate over 80% of all our flowering plants, which includes over 70 human food crops you probably eat on a regular basis! Without bees, our food supply would look drastically different. So in this post we will discuss about why are bees important to the environment and your garden.
Let’s not forget that without bees, we would have no access to honey, which is produce from flowering plants. Honey played a vital role throughout history, being one of the only sweeteners used thousands of years. We know every culture in history relied on history!
Their importance doesn’t stop there - seriously! Bees help create nourishing habitats for animals, birds, and insects throughout the world. Bees are responsible for creating floral landscapes, both manmade and natural!
Foods that Bees Pollinate
Take a walk through your local grocery store, and you’ll see hundreds of different veggies and fruits. You may have a vegetable garden, brimming with delicious vegetables waiting to join your dinner menu. Many of these fruits and vegetables are impossible to enjoy without the presence of bees and other pollinators.
Domestic and imported fruits and vegetables require pollination. Some examples include:
Asparagus, Avocados, Broccoli, Cucumbers, Citrus fruits, Cherries, Celery, Cranberries, Soybeans, Squash, Peaches, Kiwis, Melons, Blueberries, Almonds...
Around 80% of the crops in the United States are dependent on honey bees. We also can’t forget honey bees pollinate clover and alfalfa, which are fed to cattle. That means our meat and dairy production also depends on these little bees!
Bees Role in the Environment
Bees are the most important pollinator, and they make important contributions to the environment. There are five general roles that bees play in the environment.
Bees play a part in the ecosystem, and their role isn’t small. They help to support the growth of trees, flowers, and other plants. Those plants act as food and shelter for all creatures. Their role contributes to the interconnecting ecosystem that allows a diverse number of species to existence together.
Pollination is why we have so many wonderful fruits and veggies, like the ones listed above. If you love applesauce or cranberries with your Thanksgiving dinner, you can thank bees. If you enjoy broccoli with your dinner or watermelon during the hot summer, bees are to thank for their work.
Pollination is simple. To fertilize and grow, plants need the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower - called the anther - to the female part - the stigma. Bees and other pollinators go from flower to flower as they search for tasty nectar. Pollen sticks to their bodies, and they leave behind pollen on the female flower! Now, their job is done.
Bees are busy! If humans had their energy, we would get a lot more accomplished than most of us do. Bees are pollinate thousands and thousands of plants each year! One bee colony pollinates 300 million flowers each day - yes, millions! Bees pollinate around 80% of the flowering plants on Earth.
Bees create intrinicate hives, but their work also forms homes for millions of other insects and animals! As pollinators, bees play a part in deciduous forests, tropical rainforests, and the plains. There isn’t a habitat that doesn’t get help from bees.
Humans started harvesting honey thousands of years ago - ever wonder who took those brave first steps to see if the honey was edible? Bees produce honey as a way to feed the colony throughout the winter months.
Humans know honey is a tasty snack, but we aren’t the only ones who love honey! Birds, opossums, raccoons, and pests sneak honey from beehives as a yummy treat. Some animals eat the bee larvae as well. Not to mention, bees also are food for other animals. Many birds, such as the blackbird and ruby-throated hummingbird, eat bees as part of their regular diet. Certain insects and spiders eat bees as well!
Wild Plant Growth
So, we know that homegrown fruits and vegetables depend on pollinators to grow and thrive, but wild plants are the same! Insect pollination is a requirement for many species of plants. Bees are the reasons why many seeds, nuts, berries, and wild fruit plants grow, and these plants serve as a crucial food source for wild animals.
It’s easy to forget that bees play a factor in tree growth! Trees are pollinated by bees, and our landscape wouldn’t look the same without them. Some trees that rely on bees include:
Chestnuts, Rowans, Hawthorne, Hazel, Holly, Alder, Pussy Willow, Fruit Trees - Cherry, Pear, Plum, Quince, and Apple,...
Let’s not forget that the bees contribute to our economy! As crazy as it sounds, it is estimated that bees contribute $40 billion per annum! $15 billion of this is just in the United States crop production, but they also contribute to the production of almonds and other specialty crops.
Encourage Bees to Visit Your Garden
Here are some ways to encourage bees to stop by and visit your garden!
- 1Leave shallow dishes of water in your yard, or place a fountain nearby so bees can stay hydrated.
- 2Plant bee balm throughout your garden!
- 3Bees love blue, purple, and yellow flowers, so make sure to include a few brightly colored flowers in your garden.
- 4Plant flowering veggies, like tomatoes and zucchini, in your garden.
- 5Include flowering fruits like strawberries and apples that blossom before they bloom fruits. After the bees pollinate, you get delicious fruits!
It’s no doubt that bees play an important role in the environment and in our gardens. Without bees, our gardens will be empty! The supermarket would have a lot fewer options, and humans wouldn’t have such a variety of food choices. Without bees, the world we live in would be a lot less beautiful and exciting!