All Life Depends on Pollination
The process of pollination is an essential part in the reproductive cycle of plants. Virtually all seeded plants, trees, flowers and vegetables require pollination to produce and reproduce.
- More than 150 food crops in the US depend on pollination. All crops produce larger, more flavorful and more abundant fruit when pollinated.
- Pollination is key to the reproduction of wild plants that produce oxygen and sequester carbon. Plants are the “lungs of the earth” and require pollination to perform this crucial role.
- Pollinated plants help to purify water and prevent erosion through roots that hold the soil in place.
- The water cycle that supports all life depends on pollinated plants to return moisture to the atmosphere.
- While not our only pollinators, bees are the most efficient.
“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.”
– St. John Chrysostom
The Plight of the Honey Bee
In recent years, much attention has been given to the plight of the European honey bee. Honey bee farming has become a huge industry in the age of big corporate agriculture. Honey bee farmers travel from farm to farm with their hives to pollinate the crops. This cumbersome process has encountered numerous problems including colony collapse disorder, which has caused the loss of at least 40% of honey bee colonies in the US. Why is this unnatural process of pollination necessary? It is necessary because our own native North American bee population is being destroyed at an alarming rate. Ironically, its destruction is partly caused by the monoculture farms that rely on pollination.
Native Bees – Our Best Pollinators
- Native Bees are at least three times more effective at pollination than honey bees.
- Virtually all of our native bee species are solitary, rather than colonized. They are peaceful and rarely sting. Many native bees don’t even have a stinger. It is the yellow jacket wasp that is responsible for the majority of “bee” stings.
- The number one reason why half of the Midwest’s native bee species have disappeared from their historic ranges over the last century is habitat loss.
Urban and suburban sprawl as well as vast non-diversified farmland has destroyed the majority of prairie, forest, wetland and savannah. These natural places once provided the native plant species that our native bees need to survive and thrive. Unless we find ways to bring back more of these native plant species in our modern landscapes and agricultural fields, our most efficient, most dependable pollinators will continue toward extinction.
Thank you to the Bees for all you give us!