World Bee Day is May 20: Ways you can help protect this critical insect

Ecologists say that bees are a critical part of the world’s ecosystems. In fact, it is estimated that 84% of the crops humans grow need bees and other insects to pollinate them to increase their yields.

Bee pollination results in better quality of produce, and a higher number of fruits or seeds.

Here are 7 familiar plants that do best with bee pollination.

Almonds. When bees pollinate almond flowers the trees bear more fruit and the nutrient content rises in levels of Vitamin E.

Apples. Without bees cross-pollinating, we might not get apples! Just one flower may need about 4-5 bee visits to get enough pollen grains to fertilize and produce fruit.

Blueberries. The fuzzy bumblebees are the best at pollinating blueberries due to the bell-shape of the blueberry flower. Bumblebees visit more flowers per minute than any other pollinators.

Cucumbers. Agricultural research shows that when cucumber growers intentionally introduce bees into their greenhouses that the yields increase up to 40%.

Onions. This is a surprising part of bee work, but nectar foraging bees love to visit onion umbels.

Pumpkins. Ground-nesting female bees are more likely to visit pumpkin flowers in the early morning hours, collecting both pollen and nectar from both pumpkin and squash flowers.

Strawberries. This critical part of the Haudenosaunee life cycle would not have its sweet flavour without the work of bees. A fully developed strawberry needs about 21 visits from bees.

Everyone can help the work of bees with a few of these tips.

Plant nectar-bearing flowers. Buy honey from local beekeepers. Preserve meadows with wildflowers and only cut the grass after nectar bearing plants have finished blooming.

Use pesticides that do not harm bees and spray them in windless weather.

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