Most people think of bees as the producers of honey and beeswax. While this is true, these insects serve another important purpose in nature – that of pollinating plants. Without bees, many plants that produce food and are used for ornamental purposes would not be able to propagate and therefore would cease to exist.
If you observe the action of bees in a garden, you will see that they fly from one flower to another. As they do this small bits of pollen drop off their bodies onto the flowers or are scraped off as they touch up against the petals. There are some species of bees that gather pollen from specific plants, while others collect the pollen from a large variety of plants and flowers. Each foraging trip they make, though, is for only one kind of flower. This habit of flitting from flower to flower is one of the main ways in which plants are pollinated.
Whether bees are wild or domesticated, they still play this important role in nature and ecology. Bumblebees usually pollinate red clover because they have long proboscis to help them obtain the nectae from the flowers. Thus they can pollinate flowers that honeybees are not equipped for.
Agriculturists all over the world are becoming familiar with the pollination role that bees can perform and are no longer regarding them as pests in the garden. Some farmers actually attempt to encourage nesting sites in the soil or in the plant stalks around their fields. Small areas can be planted with flowers to serve as food for the insects when the main source of their food is not in bloom in the fields.
Farmers are also making arrangements with beekeepers to create colonies of bees in the midst of a field of crops. This arrangement is advantageous for all involved because it improves both the honey and the crops.
There is a long list of plants that are pollinated by bees. However, it is important for growers to be very familiar with the correct type of pesticides to use when spraying their crops. Some kinds can be fatal to the bee colonies. There is also the issue of timing when using bees for pollination purposes. They must be set out just as the crops come into bloom. If you set the bees out before this they may start pollinating different plants and will therefore be of no use to the main crop.