The Importance of Honeybees

— Written By and last updated by Patricia Burch

It seems as though modern times have proven to be constantly evolving at a rapid pace. There are new advancements in technology and methods becoming available every day aimed at making us more efficient. Agriculture is certainly no different, with new techniques, equipment, and practices to improve farm efficiency while also constantly reducing the environmental impact agriculture has on the world.

While many of these advancements within the agriculture industry are crucial to ensure the sustainability of farms for many generations to come, there are still many inputs mother nature controls that are crucial for crops to grow properly. Although weather-related things such as rainfall and sunlight are obvious, other inputs are involved that many people may not consider at first.

A major input that provides an enormous benefit to the agriculture industry is insect pollination. There are many plants that rely on insects traveling from plant to plant to provide adequate pollination that will correlate to quality fruit at harvest time. Honey bees are the most important pollinator for crops grown in North Carolina. While many fruit and vegetable crops are dependent upon honey bee pollination, many other crops such as cotton, soybeans, peanuts, and alfalfa also benefit from honey bee activity. While there are only an estimated 100,000 managed honey bee hives in the entire state, the National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates the value added to agriculture by honey bees as pollinators at an average of 96.5 million dollars.

While much of the honey bee work is done in the background of day to day operations, the sustainability of honey bees in North Carolina is crucial to the vitality of the agricultural industry throughout the state. Farmers, nurserymen, and many others involved in agriculture often revolve their plans around the honey bees to ensure they have very minimal impacts on these pollinators that are so important to all of our lives. The next time you see a honey bee, I encourage you to realize their importance to all of us.

Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for more information regarding joining your local beekeeper’s association chapter. Sampson County office: (910)-592-7161