Many of us are accustomed to seeing bees fly around our backyards on summer evenings, but what we may not understand is just how important these creatures are to our continued existence on this planet. Bees are responsible for pollinating approximately 250,000 plant species. Without the bees’ work, these plants would soon dwindle into extinction, which would have a knock-on effect on the herbivorous animal species who depend on them for survival, and would eventually cause carnivorous animals’ numbers to dwindle too, as their prey species die out. In 2010, bees pollinated approximately $19 billion worth of agricultural crops in the U.S. This figure amounts to one-third of the total crops that we eat each year!

Sadly, bees are under threat. Last year, seven species of Hylaeus bee were added to the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: the first official acknowledgement of the peril that bees around the world are facing, under the onslaught of factors such as the parasitical Varroa mite, Colony Collapse Disorder, and the use of harmful pesticides (such as neonicotinoids) that have decimated their numbers.

Neonicotinoids (also known neonics) function by attacking insects’ nervous system, causing immediate death….