- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It's Thanksgiving Day, and as we sit down with family and friends to count our blessings, let's thank the bees.
If your table includes pumpkin, cranberries, carrots, cucumbers, onions, apples, oranges, cherries, blueberries, grapefruit, persimmons, pomegranates, pears, sunflower seeds, and almonds, praise the bees for their pollination services.
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are generalists, while the squash bees (Peponapis pruinosa) are specialists that pollinate only the cucurbits or squash family, Cucurbitaceae.
And don't forget the spices. Honey bees visit the plants that eventually comprise our spices, including sage, basil, oregano and thyme.
Ready for dessert? Ice cream? Even milk and ice cream are closely linked to the honey bee. Cows feed on alfalfa, which is pollinated by honey bees (along with other bees).