That is not a trick question! So many of the fruits, nuts and vegetables we eat are a direct result of commercial bee pollination. Natural pollinators thrive in environments where diverse crops are grown on small scales. With large monocultures -- even those that are "organic" -- the only way to keep production up is to truck commercial bee hives from long distances at specific times of the year to pollinate the crops. Joe Hansen, a commercial beekeeper and writer, describes this beautifully in the Oregonian. He goes on to say that consumers would be surprised at the size of the carbon footprint involved in commercial pollination. So what is the carbon footprint of a bee?
For example, California's central valley produces 1.9 billion pounds of Almonds each year, and requires about a million (that's right!) beehives to be shipped from all over the country. Each beehive travels an average of 1500 miles each way on a semitrailer truck for this gig. And the beehive is fed about 75 pounds of sugar annually to replenish the carbohydrates the bees burn in the hard work of pollination. Putting all this together into CarbonScope, I see that the bees increase a typical Almond crop's carbon footprint by about 10%. Not huge, but it is also not trivial, and it easily exceeds the typical impact of transporting the product to market.