A keystone species, bees are responsible for sustaining ecosystems and billions of dollars in agricultural crops each year.

Yet these essential pollinators are under threat—from pesticides, habitat loss and disease. That’s bad news not just for the bees, but for countless birds and other wild animals who depend on the fruits and seeds of their labors. If you look at all the species (including humans!) that rely on bees for a big part of their diets, it’s obvious that these buzzing insects deserve our protection.

small swarm of bees buzzing around
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Let bee stings be bygones.

North America has nearly 4,000 native bee species, including types of bumblebees and sweat, miner, carpenter, mason, squash and leafcutter bees. Unlike the hive-defending honey bee (who hails from Europe), most native bees lead solitary lives and aren’t aggressive to people—and many are stingless.

beekeeper and bees in and around apiary
Imported from Europe in the 1600s, most honeybees in North America are now kept in commercially managed colonies that are transported around the country for crop pollination.
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Did you know?

A bee’s tongue size (which varies among species) determines whether they can reach the nectar in a particular type of flower. To feed as many bees as possible, plant a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, shrubs, trees and wildflowers that are free of harmful neonicotinoids.

Bird in birdbath, enjoying a humane backyard

No matter how big or small your outdoor space, you can create a haven for local wildlife. By pledging to provide basic needs like water, food and shelter for wildlife, you can make a difference in your own backyard.

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