Why We Need Bees
"Many people think of bees simply as a summertime nuisance. But these small and hard-working insects actually make it possible for many of your favorite foods to reach your table. From apples to almonds to the pumpkin in our pumpkin pies, we have bees to thank." An estimated one-third of our food supply is pollinated by bees. Almonds are 100% dependent on honeybees for pollination.
Bees keep our economy humming
- More than $15 billion a year in U.S. crops are pollinated by bees.
- U.S. honeybees produce about $150 million in honey annually.
- Fewer bees means lower crop yields and increased production costs, estimated as high as $5.7 billion per year.
- Keeping bee populations safe is critical for keeping American tables stocked with high-quality produce and our agriculture sector running smoothly.
3 types of honeybees
There is only one queen bee in a hive. She lays about 2000 eggs per day during the summer. The queen lives about 3-4 years.
The worker bees are all female. They raise the brood, clean the hive, feed the queen, guard the hive, and bring in nectar and pollen. They can live about 6 weeks in the summer. Workers who emerge in the fall can live through the winter.
The drones are all male. They do no work in the hive. They live until they mate with the queen or until they are kicked out of the hive by the workers in the fall.