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Bee-hold the Power of Pollinators!
Bee-hold the Power of Pollinators! Image

How do you feel about winged insects like honeybees, houseflies, and dragonflies? Do you find that you love some (like ladybugs) and hate others (like bees)? Maybe you sat on one that stung you at a family picnic, or the nuisance of a few (ahem, mosquitos) has ruined the charm of the many. If you’ve ever struggled to appreciate all the tiny bugs that fly above and around you every day, this blog post is for you. By page-end you’ll have a newly found love of our winged “friends,” and maybe even the desire to attract them to your yard!

 

Do you like apples? How about blueberries, plums, and squash? More than 70% of the world’s plant species, 75% of the world’s crops, and 30% of the human diet depend on pollinators — not to mention the medicines, fibers, and oils that come from plants that rely on pollination. But what is a pollinator?

  • A pollinator is an animal that transfers pollen grains from flower-to-flower, a movement that allows for the growth of seeds and fruit. Some plants are self- or wind-pollinated, but most cannot produce fruit without the help of an animal. All of the flying insects you see in yards are pollinators, as are bats, hummingbirds, and even your neighbor Charles when he walks through his yard and picks up pollen on his pants. 

Thankfully for us, there’s an absolute army of over 200,000 animal species that serve as pollinators. But there’s a little bit of a problem….

 

The Problem with Pollinators is not so much a problem they’ve created for us, but one that we’ve have created for them. Since at least the 1950s, pollinator populations have been in steady decline from disease, parasites, pesticides, habitat fragmentation, landscape deterioration, climate change, and competition from non-native insects introduced by humans. 

 

How Can You Help Pollinators? If by now you’ve come to realize how important insects are to all of us, or how valuable they are to the economy, you’ll probably feel a little bit alarmed by the news of their decline. Luckily, there are very impactful ways you can help! Helping pollinators is as simple as: 

  • Reducing your reliance on pesticides by populating your garden with plants that attract helpful insects (this helps the health of our oceans too!);
  • Consulting an Integrated Pest Management specialist (or resources) before using pesticides to combat pests at home; 
  • Controlling invasive plants; 
  • Providing windbreaks and nesting areas like bat boxes or sites with low vegetation for bee nests; 
  • Creating a backyard pollinator garden, and/or helping build one at a local school to teach children the importance of pollinators in our lives. This turf replacement rebate can help!

 

Learn something new or have something to add? “A great idea!” you say? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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