Bees are vital to a healthy environment and healthy economy. They're also simply beautiful and fascinating little insects. But what makes them so special?
We need bees. We may take them and other pollinators like butterflies and hoverflies for granted - but they are vital for stable, healthy food supplies. They are key to the varied, colourful and nutritious diets we need and have come to expect.
Bees are perfectly adapted to pollinate, helping plants grow, breed and produce food. They do so by transferring pollen between flowering plants and so keep the cycle of life turning.
The vast majority of plants we need for food rely on pollination, especially by bees: from almonds and vanilla and apples to squashes. Bees also pollinate around 80% of wildflowers in Europe, so our countryside would be far less interesting and beautiful without them.
But bees are in trouble. There is growing public and political concern at bee decline across the world...