Why are bees important?
Approximately one-third of what we eat is pollinated by bees.
In the UK alone, bees contribute £200m a year to the economy through pollination. In all, bees play a crucial role in pollinating some 90 commercial crops worldwide.
Crops reliant on bees for pollination include: apples, pears, raspberries, plums, cherries, carrots and onions. However, it’s not just fruit and vegetables; alfalfa, a major cattle crop, is 90% reliant on pollination by bees.
The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) estimates that if people were to take over the job of pollination from bees in the UK, it would require a workforce of 30 million. In southern Sichuan, China, pear trees are pollinated by hand after the uncontrolled use of pesticides in the 1980s killed the honeybee population.
Crops pollinated by bees
- Brussel sprouts
- Passion fruit
Source: A Spring without Bees by Michael Schacker, Lyons Press, 2008