The Importance of Bee Pollinators and Plant Health

The Green Gazette explains the vital relationship between bee pollinators and plant health.

| February/March 2003

Learn about bee pollinators and plant health. 

Few people know that honeybees (Apis mellifera) are not native to the Americas, but were brought over by Europeans. Before these bees came to this country, pollen bees, also called "native," "wild" or "non-Apis" bees, were responsible for pollinating our flowering plants.

Even though they don't live together in hives, and the females make their own simple nests and care for their own offspring, pollen bees are still somewhat social creatures that don't mind nesting together in close quarters. You can foster a bee collective by providing them with nesting blocks.

There is a vital relationship between bee pollinators and plant health. Some pollen bees' adult activity coincides with the flowering period of their food plants, making them suited for management with crops that have brief blooming periods. This quality, paired with their gentle nature and resistance to mites and viruses, makes them fantastic orchard and garden pollinators, and perfect for many backyard gardeners.

More information on pollen bees can be found at the Pollinator Paradise website:

Bringing Back the Buzz

Before you take that next forkful of food, be thankful. Or rather, bee thankful. Every third bite of food we eat, as well as most of our clothing, some beverages and many medicines, could not be produced without the essential pollination provided by bees, according to research entomologist Stephen Buchmann.

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