It takes more than soil, water, and sunshine to make the world green. At least 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of all plants require cross-pollination to spread and thrive, and here in Canada, bees are our most important pollinators.
Unfortunately, bee populations here and around the world are in decline.
Climate change causes some flowers to bloom earlier or later than usual, leaving bees with fewer food sources at the start of the season. Bees suffer habitat loss from development, abandoned farms, and the lack of bee-friendly flowers. Some colonies collapse due to plants and seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides, or harmful parasites like mites.
Even one of Ontario’s most common species of bumble bee recently became an endangered species.
The good news is there are ways gardeners can help bee populations bounce back. Planting a bee-friendly garden will not only lead to healthy and vibrant plants, it will ensure that bees continue to play their critical role in our ecosystem.
Let’s explore five of the reasons bees are important to the environment.
What’s your favourite summer crop? If you love apples, melons, cranberries, asparagus, or broccoli, you should tip your sun hat to our fuzzy, insect friends.
To germinate, these plants require the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower (the anther) to the female part (the stigma). As bees move from flower to flower in search of nectar, they leave behind grains of pollen on the sticky surface, allowing plants to grow and produce food.
Bees earn their reputation as busy workers by pollinating billions of plants each year, including millions of agricultural crops. In fact, pollinators like bees play a key role in one out of every three bites of food we eat. Without them, many plants we rely on for food would die off.
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