It's Pollinator Week, a national celebration of the massive contribution pollen-transferring insects and animals make to the global food supply -- and economy -- and a call to action to help protect them before it's too late. Chief among those needing our help: bees, which have been dying off by the hive-full in a mysterious phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
You should care about the fate of the bees if you care about almonds, apricots, mangos, melons -- even coffee, to start. In the U.S., honeybees bring $15 billion of added value to agricultural crops. Pollinators as a whole, which also include birds, bats, beetles and butterflies, are responsible for about a third of the entire world's crops.
But you should also care because they're pretty damn incredible. As these macro-focused photographs made public by the U.S. Geological Survey's Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab attest, the classic image of a fat, yellow and black bumblebee doesn't do justice to the range of spectacular colors and features found in other bee species.
Check out some favorites below, with edited captions provided by the USGS:
[slide_show id ="13707257"]