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© 1998, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


Bees are valuable pollinators and need to be protected when pesticides are applied, especially when plants are in bloom. Learn how to best protect them with tips for specific crops, chemicals, and application times.

Bees are valuable pollinators of 95 crops grown in the United States. Bee-pollinated crops have a farm value of approximately $10 billion. Bees are as vital as soil fertility, irrigation, and pest control in the production of crops requiring bee pollination. Bees also are valuable pollinators of many wild plants that provide food and cover to wildlife, contribute to soil fertility and erosion control, and add beauty to our landscapes. Honey bees also contribute to our agricultural economy by producing $200 million of honey annually. While the honey crop is important to beekeepers, it is a small sum compared to the value of the crops which benefit from bee pollination.

Bees are insects that feed exclusively on nectar and pollen. They can be distinguished from other groups of insects by the presence of branched body hairs on the thorax and abdomen. There are approximately 3,500 species of bees in North America.