Have you thanked a pollinator today? Well, maybe you should because 35% of the world's crops rely on pollinators to reproduce.

Figs and Wasps

Bees are usually the star of the show when it comes to buzzy food-producing vigilantes, but we have to give credit to their specialist cousin the fig wasp. There are many species of figs as well as fig wasps and all varieties engage in mutualistic relationships. This means that the plant (and food) cannot exist without the insect and vice versa. 

The story begins when the female wasp enters a fig fruit to deposit her offspring. Once the young wasps have mated, the males chew holes in the fig, so that the females may escape (turns out chivalry isn't dead). The males then die within the original fig (okay now its dead). The female flies off to another enticing fig to drop off her kids, but not without first picking up some pollen. Thus, a new generation of wasps is born a fig is pollinated; its a win-win-win. 

Bats and Agave

Its not just insects we're indebted to. Another spooky critter, the long nosed bat, is also a mutualist with the agave plant. So if you're a fan of tequila or a low-glycemic-sugar-alternative in your coffee, odds are a bat helped you get there. 

The Mexican long-nosed bat slurps down nectar from agave flowers as eagerly as you might slurp down a tequila sunrise at happy hour. Despite having a long nose, the bat has to bury almost his entire face in the flower. When the bat does this, he picks up pollen and spreads it to the next flower he feeds on. Without these bats, it would be impossible for us to enjoy are Margarita happy hours or oatmeal with agave. 

water, tequila
Jocelyn Hsu

Spoon Nation Thanks Pollination

So the next time you're at a classy drinking establishment, polishing off Margs and goat cheese stuffed figs, raise a glass to the wasps and the bats -- they're the ones who did all the work.