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Save the bees, save the world.

That seems like quite a stretch, but really, bees do so much more than people think.

As our bee populations slowly decrease thanks to disease, loss of habitat, pesticide use and more, the nation and the world are starting to see the ramifications of these little insects.

In the next few weeks, let's explore a little bit about why bees are so important.

First on the docket, food. Bees provide the world with more than just honey. In fact, some of your favorite foods and some of the most valuable foods in the nation are reliant on different kinds of bees to pollinate them.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released these statistics of what percent of different crops relied on honeybee pollination:

Soybeans: 50 percent

Alfalfa: 60 percent

Cotton: 60 percent

Almonds: 100 percent

Apples: 90 percent

Oranges: 90 percent

Peaches: 80 percent

Cherries, sweet: 90 percent

Grapefruit: 90 percent

Tangerines: 90 percent

As honeybees buzz around looking for pollen and nectar, pollen sticks to their furry bodies and transfers from flower to flower in our flowering crops, providing an imperative service as they go.

Honeybees pollinate 80 percent of flowering crops, including one-third of everything that you and I eat. Plus, native bees and bumble bees do their share of pollinating, so imagine the overall impact of bees.

It's not just whole fruits and vegetables that we would be missing if our honeybees die out. Imagine life without pizza --- a lack of grain for cows means a lack of milk means no cheese; a lack of tomatoes means no tomato sauce; a lack of grain also means no pizza crust.

If life without honeybees means life without pizza, that's just not a life most of us would want to live.

(Pollinated foods A-Z)

Foods we wouldn’t have without pollinators

What if you couldn’t have any almonds or cashews in that nut mix you love to snack on? What if you couldn’t eat sesame chicken because sesame didn’t exist anymore? What if bananas, blueberries and tomatoes weren’t on the shelves anymore? One in three bites of food that we take is due to pollinators, and…

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Six ways native bees differ from honeybees

People often use the term bee when talking about any kind of buzzing creature outside — it could be a honeybee, a bumble bee, a mason bee, a sweat bee or even a wasp or yellowjacket. However, it’s important to differentiate between the different kinds of bees. That may be difficult since the U.S. has…

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Neonicotinoids and bees: A summary of studies done

You have probably heard the long name neonicotinoids when the topic of struggling bee populations has come up. But what exactly are these chemicals, and what do they have to do with bees? This is a topic that is long, in-depth and still being studied, but we will do our best to break it down…

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Save the bees, save the honey

With all the reasons out there to work to save our bees, one reason is definitely delicious — honey. (Honeybees and their native relatives) Not only is it scrumptious, but it also has many other appealing qualities: 1. Honey doesn’t spoil. The oldest honey was found in the country of Georgia and dates back thousands…

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Save the Bees, Save the World… From Bombs?

In this next part of our Save the Bees, Save the World series, we explore a different reason why bees are such incredible creatures. (Without native bees, we wouldn’t have blueberries.)

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Save the Bees, save the world: Part II

We’ve all seen a movie about the future that shows a picture of a desolate world. That world is usually dark, dusty and barren. In “The Matrix,” the real world has almost no natural light. Everything is rocky, and there is not a flower to be seen. “The Book of Eli” shows a world like…

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