A hive of bees in your yard or home or bee guests at your picnic are a nuisance but there’s a reason why we need bees…but maybe not in our yards. They pollinate flowers and plants, including the ones we eat. They are the reason we see flowers and plants in bloom. They are nature’s delivery person and while they may be a nuisance sometimes, we can’t bee without them.
Bees Pollinate Crops
Bees aren’t the only ones who are helping cross-pollinate crops. Birds, bats, beetles, and butterflies also contribute. Cross-pollinators transfer pollen and seeds from one flower or plant to another. This acts as fertilization so the plants can grow and produce food. Scientists estimate that cross-pollination helps 30% of crops and up to 90% of wild foliage to thrive making bees and the other cross-pollinators an important part of the ecosystem and the economy.
Bees pollinate more than $15 billion a year in U.S. crops; including apples, berries, cucumbers, alfalfa, and almonds. Honeybees produce $150 million in honey annually. That means we can’t eliminate them without eliminating a source of revenue in the economy. Just ask the thousands of Arizona beekeepers who could no longer keep bees because of Africanization of hives.
The biggest challenge we have in Arizona is that many of our hives have been overtaken by Africanized bees, as we discussed in our blog post Bee Hive Moving in Phoenix. Going near these hives or swarms can cost you in multiple stings or even death and we don’t want that for you!
Try not to approach bees especially if they are swarming or in a hive. They’re very protective of their territory, especially the Africanized version.