In the UK about 70 crops are dependent on, or benefit from, visits from bees. In addition, bees pollinate the flowers of many plants which become part of the feed of farm animals. The economic value of honey bees and bumble bees as pollinators of commercially grown insect pollinated crops in the UK has been estimated at over £200 million per year.
- Bees are pollinators vital to our food chain. One third of the food we eat would not be available but for bees.
- Bees, like other insects, are part of a food chain.
- The social life of the honey bee colony provides a controversial start to thinking about the structure of societies.
- The tools which have evolved on the limbs and mouthparts of bees are neat examples of adaptation and engineering.
- The harvest from honey bees of honey, pollen, wax and propolis has nutritional, craft, manufacturing, and medical applications.
- Pollination by bees is important for genetic sustainability. Genes that have evolved in other animals are important to our future, too.