A new study conducted in July showed that wild bees add at least $1.5 billion in yields to six U.S crops.
Summertime staples like blueberries, watermelon, and cherries all depend largely on wild bee pollination.
“To me, the big surprise was that we found so many wild bees even in intense production areas where much of the produce in the USA is grown,” says coauthor Rachael Winfree, a pollination ecologist at Rutgers University.
The farms that participated in the study showed evidence of reaching a “pollinator limit.”
This means fields that are well fertilized and watered still cannot reach maximum yield without a certain number of wild bees.
Several species of wild bees are in severe decline. As a result, Certain fruits and vegetables could become scarce and more expensive.
Now, here’s the good news.
Populations of domestic bees raised on farms and wildlife preserves are actually doing better this year.
And, an increase in awareness over the years has prompted the founding of several organizations that aim to protect the world’s pollinators.
The National Pollinator Garden Network, founded in 2015, has established over 1,040,0000 pollinator gardens across the US, Mexico, and Canada. That’s over 5 million acres of protected pollinator habitat.
Another organization called Fungi Perfecti is studying how mushrooms can be used to protect bees from the diseases that are ravaging colonies.
They have donated millions to research facilities and starter projects all designed to protect bee populations.
There is no one-shot solution, but many hope that this new research will force politicians and corporations to recognize our pollinator problem and work together to create solutions across the board.