Bees pollinate many of the plants we eat: fruits and vegetables; many nuts; oil producing crops, such as rapeseed and sunflowers; as well as cocoa beans, coffee and tea. This increases their yield and quality. Seeds, fruits and berries are also eaten by many animals, so bees are important for supporting the planet's ecosystems too.
However, bees are currently in danger from colony collapse disorder. This disorder is defined as a dead colony with no adult bees or dead bee bodies, but with a live queen and usually honey and immature bees still present. No scientific cause for the disorder has been proven, but scientists believe it is the result of several factors interacting with one another, including exposure to agricultural pesticides and attacks by bee parasites.
The data visualisation, above, maps inspections of bee apiaries, in the UK, over the past decade and the number of dead colonies reported. The data source is the Animal and Plant Health Agency.