THE BUZZ ON BEES
Bees are born to work. They are perhaps the hardest working creatures on the planet, and their labor benefits food production in the most valuable way.
Bees are responsible for pollinating about one-sixth of blossoming plants around the world, and approximately 400 different types of agricultural plants.
Pollination is essentially plant reproduction. Without the help of bees, our everyday food supply would look so different. At least one third of the food staples the world relies on would no longer exist.
Honey bees are the most economically valuable pollinator worldwide, and many high-value crops such as our apples, pears and cherries are entirely reliant upon pollination.
Globally, 9.5% of the total economic value of agricultural production for human consumption comes from insect pollination. This amounts to around $200 billion annually.
Of the 100 crops that provide 90 percent of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.
In the U.S., honey bees pollinate nearly 95 kinds of fruits (including apples, pears, and cherries).
There are around 4,000 different bee species in the U.S. The Apidae family is perhaps the most well known bee family, with familiar members such as the honeybee, carpenter bee and the bumblebee.
Bees have stiff hairs and pockets on their legs, allowing them to collect pollen and be more efficient transporters of it between plants. Collecting pollen from the blossoms on one tree, then transporting it via their leg hairs to the next tree is how pollen is dispersed. It is by carrying pollen between trees, particularly different species of trees, that the male part of the flower, the anther, transfers pollen to the female part of the flower, the stigma. Upon the meeting of the anther to the stigma, the process of forming a tree’s fruit begins.
While some plants are able to self-pollinate (sometimes using the wind to help disperse pollen), commercial fruit trees rely on bees for pollination.
SUPPORTING LOCAL BEEKEEPERS
CMI, owned by Columbia Fruit Packers, McDougall and Sons, Highland Fruit Company and Double Diamond, is proud to be a member of, the North Central Washington Beekeeper’s Association.
The NCWBA works to promote beekeeping throughout the Wenatchee area and beyond. A membership-based nonprofit organization, the NCWBA is funded by community donations and memberships and provides resources for beekeepers, pollinators, farmers, the general public as well as information on honeybees.
In addition to CMI’s membership, CMI supports the efforts of the NCWBA by contributing towards scholarships for local beekeepers.