Get the buzz on the hardest-working creatures in the garden.
Without bees, we'd have a lot less food: the little creatures offer a huge service to gardeners by pollinating vegetable flowers so they can make fruit. Bees have a hard time surviving the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, but in the past few years beekeeping has become very popular, and bee populations are growing again.
Bees collect pollen and nectar on their legs each time they visit a plant. A little of this pollen falls into the other flowers they touch, and voila: pollination! Vegetable flowers are either male or female, and bees carry pollen from one to the other. Without mixing pollen, vegetables can't reproduce.
Gardeners have realized that without bees their crops suffer; they produce less, and the taste isn't as good. It's important to reduce the use of pesticides if you want bees to pollinate your garden. Consider raising a bee colony nearby: the bees will increase productivity and produce healthy and good-tasting honey. Contact you local extension service to find beekeepers in your area.