Honeybees are one of the most common pollinators of flowers in the garden. In the process of collecting nectar and pollen for their hives, honeybees transfer pollen from flower to flower by the pollen baskets on their hind legs. Pollination is necessary for fruits and seeds to develop in many plants. Pollination by honeybees is required in approximately 30% of food crops. Here are some of the most common flowers pollinated by honeybees:
Apple blossoms are not self-pollinating and require honeybees (and sometimes orchard mason bees) to carry pollen from tree to tree. Pollination is required for apples to grow for eating and for producing seed. In large apple-growing operations, beehives are often brought in during the spring flowering time to ensure pollination. Apple trees in backyard gardens are pollinated by passing wild honeybees.
Almonds are one of the most important and lucrative crops in the United States. They are not a true nut but actually a seed within the almond fruit. Almost half of the commercial beehives in the US are brought in to pollinate California's almond crop in the February bloom season. Almonds are not commonly found in backyard gardens but wild honeybees can pollinate individual trees.
Cotton is one of the world's most important textile crops and is grown in the southern United States and other sub-tropical areas. Pollination by honeybees is required to develop cotton seeds in the plants which are surrounded by white bolls- the fiber that is used to make fabric. Cotton is sometimes grown in backyard gardens as an unusual backdrop to more common flowers.
Buckwheat is an ancient grain that has sustained people for thousands of years. It is neither a type of wheat or even a cereal grain. Unlike wheat and other grains, buckwheat requires honeybees to pollinate it. Honeybees also take this pollen and nectar back to the hive and produce the highly-prized buckwheat honey, a dark and distinctively-flavored honey.
Honeybees love roses in full bloom and roses need the honeybees. The bees pollinate the roses which allows the bush to develop rose hips- the hard casing that encloses the seeds. Rosehips from wild roses are often dried and used for teas and other culinary purposes.