Bee Facts

Natural Resources Defense Council March 2011

Every third bite of food you take, thank a bee or other pollinator.

Adapted from E.O. Wilson, Forgotten Pollinators, 1996

For more information, please contact: Jennifer Sass (202) 289-6868 jsass@nrdc.org

Why We Need Bees:

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Nature’s Tiny Workers Put Food on Our Tables.

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. Now, a condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder is causing bee populations to plummet, which means these foods are also at risk. In the United States alone, more than 25 percent of the managed honey bee population has disappeared since 1990.1 Bees are one of a myriad of other animals, including birds, bats, beetles, and butterflies, called pollinators. Pollinators transfer pollen and seeds from one flower to another, fertilizing the plant so it can grow and produce food. Cross-pollination helps at least 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of our wild plants to thrive.2 Without bees to spread seeds, many plants—including food crops—would die off.

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Bee Facts