May 20 marked the second anniversary of World Bee Day. The day was created by the United Nations as a way to honor the important role bees play in farming and to improve the insects’ chances of survival.
Bees are important to farming because they help spread plant pollen. Pollen, which some people are allergic to, are tiny grains released by plants. The pollen grains are male. By landing on the female parts of similar plants, like flowers, they fertilize the plant.
Without pollinators like bees, it would be harder for your favorite apple tree to produce fruit.
There are 28 species of bumble bees that call Montana home, all members of the Bombus genus. Genus is one of the rankings used to classify plants and animals. It falls above species and below family. The bee family is Apidae.
You can find a list of the 28 species of bees found in our state, along with other bee information, at Montana State University’s website http://mtent.org/projects/Bumble_Bees/bumble_bees.html. A few of the more interesting bee names include the indiscriminate cuckoo bumble bee and the frigid bumble bee.
There are several threats to bees across the planet. They include loss of habitat, including flowers that they feed on. Diseases and nonnative species also threaten native bees. Pollution and the use of pesticides — chemicals that kill plants and insects — are known to kill bees. As summers become longer, climate change is also affecting bees since plants may flower earlier.
Bumble Bee Watch (https://www.bumblebeewatch.org/about/) is a website dedicated to tracking and conserving bumble bees in North America. On the website you can upload photos of bees to start your own virtual bumble bee collection. The website also contains information on how you can make your yard more bumble bee friendly.
— Brett French, email@example.com
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