LastTomatoesDon’t want to freak anyone out but I read the scariest thing a while back and thought I’d share it with you guys instead of holding it all in. Okay, here it goes: Tomatoes like to be buzz-pollinated.


Right. I can see you’re as shocked as I am so let’s go through the steps slowly as I lay out the horrifying tale. Be warned, though, it’s gonna get a little technical and, um, colorful* but bear with me. Thin crust extra sauce is soooo worth it!

Okey dokey, so, the way I understand it, tomato flowers release their pollen most effectively when they’re, um, stimulated by the vibrations of the visiting apiarian representatives (hereafter known as “Bees”), which said Action causes said Pollen to transfer to aforementioned Bees, henceforth creating the opportunity for the activity known as pollination with superior setting of fruit when compared to wind-generated systems.

In other words, no bees, fewer tomatoes. Fewer tomatoes…LESS PIZZA!!!**

Well, there are some workarounds***. In “Keeping the Bees: Why All Bees Are at Risk and What We Can Do to Save Them”, scientist Laurence Packer describes a few of these non-bee pollination techniques in hilarious detail. For example, he and his assistant use a tuning fork in a field of blueberries and then when the fork breaks, a guitar. (Fun! But really time-consuming.) I’ve also read that in some countries the bee shortage is so bad, folks have to hand-paint the pollen on just to get the job done.

Or, peeps, we can just save the bees.

Here are two EZ ways you can help the pollinators in your ‘hood:

1) Grow bee-friendly plants around your home (even plants in a window-box can help!)

2) Avoid using bee-unfriendly chemicals. The good bugs need all the help they can get!

If you feel really passionate about your pizza, you might want to get involved locally or email your congressperson. But first, we need to start at home.  So when you order up that next pie, think about the good bugs who deliver all those tomatoes, no tip necessary.





*Yes, we’re talking about the birds & the bees. Minus the birds.
**Do not mention those wussy sauce-less pies. I’m just too upset right now.
***Does the robo-pollinator also play cat videos?



Further reading:

Bumblebees in Trouble: Commercialization has sickened wild bumblebees around the world. Can we save them?

Plant Pollination: A Bounty to Buzz About: The art of attracting nature’s best pollinators to your garden

Gold Dusters: They are the Earth’s pollinators. And they come in more than 200,000 shapes and sizes

Copyright 2015, Lori Fontanes