You can thank a bee for about one of every three bites of food we eat.
Jeff Pettis is the research leader for the Bee Research Lab with the Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Most of the nutritious stuff in our diet is probably pollinated by some kind of animal, and most likely a bee,” he says.
Pettis just wrapped up a survey of beekeepers around the country, and he found they lost just over 23% of their bee colonies this past winter.
“The previous about seven-year average has been just over 30%, so this number is a little bit better, but by no means is it a great number for numbers of colonies lost through the winter. Before we got the parasitic mite varroa, we used to lose 5-10% of the colonies in the winter. We got two parasitic mites in the 80s; the numbers jumped between 15-20% losses," he says.