Bee pollination doesn't just boost yields of fruit crops — it also improves fruit quality, at least in strawberries.

Strawberry plants can self-pollinate, or be pollinated by wind or bees. Björn Klatt of the University of Göttingen in Germany and his colleagues grew the fruit using a permeable plastic to eliminate wind and bee pollination, or fine-mesh bags to exclude just bees. They found that berries grown uncovered but pollinated by bees were heavier, redder, and had a longer shelf life and a more desirable sugar-to-acid ratio than wind- or self-pollinated berries.

The researchers say that bee pollination boosts hormonal growth regulators that improve the quality of the berries.

Proc. R. Soc. B (2013)