A week dedicated to bees and their work in Texas is coming up soon.

Governor Rick Perry has signed a proclamation making June 18th through the 24th National Pollinator Week in Texas, recognizing bees, birds, bats, beetles, and butterflies for their service to farmers and gardeners.

“The annual value of bee-pollinated crops to the U.S. economy is estimated at over $15 billion,” says Michael Warriner, invertebrate biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “In North America, most plant pollination is carried out by bees.”

Some researchers estimate that roughly one third of all the food we eat is because of pollination that happened in a farmer’s field. During a single day, a female bee may visit several hundred flowers, depositing pollen along the way, Warriner says.

The pollination service provided to U.S. agriculture by native bees has been estimated in excess of $3 billion annually, according to TPWD.

Warriner has created a website where tips can be found on how to identify the nine species of bees that occur in Texas at www.texasbumblebees.com.

“Contributing to this process can be as simple as casually snapping images of bumblebees on flowers, recording the date and location, and submitting the image online,” Warriner says. “There is a real need to evaluate the status of these insects in our state to assess how their populations are faring and if conservation actions are needed.”