Bees are flying insects, close relatives of wasps and ants. They are found on every continent on earth except for Antarctica. In the United States, there are over 4,000 species of native bees. Familiar bees visiting garden flowers are the colorful, fuzzy, yellow-and-black striped bumblebees, metallic-green sweat bees, squash bees, and imported honeybees. Bees of all varieties live on nectar and pollen. Bees have a long, straw-like tongue called a proboscis that allows them to drink the nectar from deep within blossoms. Without bees, pollination would be difficult and time-consuming. It is estimated that one-third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, and bees play a significant role in this process.
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