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Honey Bees &

Opening a jar of honey is like opening a gift from nature, especially when you know the incredible story of how it’s made by the honey bee, called Apis Mellifera. Honey is the only food consumed by humans that comes from an insect and an average worker bee makes only 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. Apis Mellifera or the honey bee is native to Europe, western Asia, and Africa, but were introduced to other continents, including Australia and North America, in the 17th century, and now are found all around the world.

The Honey Bees’ Second

In addition to gathering nectar to produce honey, honey bees perform a vital second function – pollination, making them a critical component of today’s agricultural market. In fact, about one-third of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants, and honey bees are responsible for 80 percent of this pollination.

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While honey bees are gathering nectar, they’re also fertilizing flowering plants. Pollination occurs when pollen is transferred from the anthers of a flower to the ovules of another flower. This pollination greatly increases the quantity and quality of many crops including a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts such as almonds.

Also, while many pollinators are important contributors, honey bees have several traits that make them well-suited for the job of crop pollination:

  • they can be managed and moved in large numbers from crop to crop by beekeepers;
  • they are resilient generalists which means they forage on (and pollinate) many types of blooms;
  • they are considered by growers to be the best “bang for your buck” for pollination.

Dietary Impact

Many of the ingredients that contribute to a balanced and healthy diet wouldn’t be possible without honey bees, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the hard work of beekeepers and managed pollinators. It is thanks to them that we can enjoy Mother Nature’s sweetener and feed communities with nutritious crops like fruits, vegetables and nuts. Not to mention meat and dairy, which depend on bees to pollinate livestock feed crops, like alfalfa. There are 90 different crops that are reliant on beekeepers and honey bees so this is an invaluable practice that ultimately puts food on dinner tables across the nation.

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    tones of honey every year

    They visit

    of the world’s top 107 crops

    There are around

    known bee species worldwide


    are native to the United States


    billion to the US economy