CO-Horts Blog

Monday, November 25, 2019

BEE Thankful for Pollinators

Posted by: Lisa Mason, Arapahoe County Extension

We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season including the meals we eat. Have you ever wondered how much of the food on our tables is dependent on pollinators? Approximately 1/3rd of our diet is dependent on pollinators, including some of our most nutritious fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Even our meat and dairy industries depend on pollinators because bees pollinate alfalfa and clover, which are food sources for cattle. (Food staples like corn, rice, soybeans, and wheat are either wind-pollinated or self-pollinated.)
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are important food crop pollinators. Some species of bee flies (Bombyliidae family) can also pollinate crops. Photo: Lisa Mason
As you plan your holiday meals with family and friends, we can think about all the delicious foods we have because of pollinators. Here is a list of common food items and who pollinates them provided by The Pollinator Partnership:
  • Almonds - Honey bees
  • Anise – Honey bees
  • Apples - Honey bees, blue mason orchard bees
  • Apricot – Bees
  • Avocado – Bees, flies, bats
  • Blueberry – Over 115 kinds of bees, including bumblebees, mason bees, mining bees and leafcutter bees
  • Cardamom – Honey bees, solitary bees
  • Cashew – Bees, moths, fruit bats
  • Cherry – Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees, flies
  • Chocolate – Bees, flies
  • Coconut – Insects, fruit bats
  • Coffee – Stingless bees, other bees, flies
  • Coriander – Honey bees, solitary bees
  • Cranberries – Over 40 bee species
  • Dairy – Dairy cows eat alfalfa pollinated by leaf cutter and honey bees
  • Fig – Over 800 species of fig wasps
  • Grape – Bees
  • Grapefruit – Bees
  • Kiwi fruit – Honey bees, bumblebees, solitary bees
  • Macadamia nuts – Bees, beetles, wasps
  • Mango – Bees, flies, wasps
  • Melon – Bees
  • Nutmeg – Honey bees, birds
  • Peach – Bees
  • Pear – Honey bees, flies, mason bees
  • Peppers – Bumble bees
  • Peppermint – Bees, flies
  • Pumpkin – Squash and gourd bees, bumble bees
  • Raspberry and Blackberry – Bees, flies
  • Strawberry – Bees
  • Sugar cane – Bees, thrips
  • Tea plants – Flies, bees, and other insects
  • Tequila – Bats
  • Tomato – Bumble bees
  • Vanilla – Bees
Note: This list is not comprehensive. Many other crops also require pollination by insects and animals.
Some species of leafcutter bees (Megachile spp.) are important crop pollinators. Photo: Lisa Mason
Now you can quiz your friends and family over the holidays about what foods are dependent on pollinators.  

Have a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving!  


  1. Without bees, pollination and reproduction would be practically impossible for some plant species. This makes bees a vital part of every ecosystem they inhabit. Humans also greatly benefit from the pollination bees provide. Bees' work allows humans to enjoy fruits, vegetables and other plant products that would not be available otherwise.

  2. Do you have an idea for a project to help connect people to nature and provide habitat for pollinators and other wildlife? Fort Collins' "Nature in the City" invites individuals or groups to develop a project and submit a proposal to obtain funding. See I am interested in possibly working with others to develop such a project. Respond, if interested!

  3. Do you also provide fruiting vines such as grapes, kiwi, hops, and more?
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