Pollination is the process by which many plants reproduce. It involves the movement of pollen between plants - i.e. the male gametes (or sperm) is transferred to female gamete. The honey bee is one of many essential pollen transporters for the plants. They are responsible for the pollination of a wide variety of crops, fruits and flowers.
How Does Pollination Work?
The plants and bees have a symbiotic relationship. The plant provides food for the bees in the form of nectar. As the bee collects the nectar it brushes against the anthers of the plant and pollen grains stick to the bee's hairy body. When the bee then visits another plant some of the pollen on its body will rub off on the stigma of the plant. By this process bees pollinate about a third of our food.
Unfortunately, the number of wild bee colonies has decreased over many years, as their natural habitat has been cleared to make way for farm land. Now, many farms often have to hire bees to help pollinate their crops. This is especially important in America where about 50% of all beehives are transported to California each year to help pollinate the almond orchards. The beehives are loaded onto pallets and then transported 1,000s of miles across the country on trucks.