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FAO's Global Action on Pollination Services for Sustainable Agriculture

Which is more important- honey bees or wild bees? Both!


Many people are surprised to learn that there are many, many more bees than just the honey bee- around 20,000 different species, in fact. Is one better than the other?  It turns out that “working” together, honey bees and wild bees make better pollinators. In California and in South Africa, it has been shown that when honey bees visit sunflowers alone, they may stay longer on one flower.  They harvest pollen but do not cross-pollinate with other flowers, which is what is needed to make sunflower seeds.  But if wild bees land on the gigantic flower heads, the honey bees – perhaps becoming annoyed at having to share the flower? – will fly off to another flower head and cross-pollinate, more frequently.