All About Pollinators

Bees, Birds, and More



How Pollinators like Butterflies, Bees and Other Animals Insure Our Gardens and Crops.

Did you see that?

In our fast-paced lives, we tend to get caught up in a never-ending list of must-do, must-see things.

We’re always on the move and yet we never really arrive anywhere in particular.

It’s quite a shame, really, because the blur of our activities leaves us numb and completely oblivious to the phenomenal dance of nature that occurs in the background of our lives (often your own yard), especially in the spring and summer months.

Bumblebee

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, had this to say.

"The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century.

The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.
Human beings have fabricated the illusion that
in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature."

The dance I’m referring to is specifically insect and bird related (pollinators), so clear your mind of any…subversive thoughts.

A new look at Insects and Birds in Your Gardens.

How many times have you seen a bee in your garden, buzzing from flower to flower? often on the same plant or like species. At each visit the bee seems to disappear into the flower as it uses its long tongue to lap nectar hidden deep within the flower. When it backs out, tiny bits of pollen are stuck to its hairy body.

Butterflies walking along flower heads or sprigs of tiny flowers, sucking up nectar through its proboscis, as through a tiny straw. With each movement the butterfly makes, with each wing beat, pollen is spread.

Hummingbirds are pollinators, as they were created to draw nectar from and pollinate certain flowers that were never designed for bees.

Other birds like orioles and woodpeckers also enjoy certain flowers.

Endangered, Lesser long-nosed bats are key to pollination of many native plants like cactus and Agave in the desert southwest.

These bats must be protected and education is the key.

Even spiders that walk across a flower head in search of lunch will pollinate some flowers.

Female Ruby-throated hummingbird & Black and Blue salvia

Gardening for Pollinating critters allows us to understand and appreciate a part of nature we usually don't notice, the Insects.

Once you start paying attention, you will find a whole world that is even more complex, fascinating and important than any of us realize.

Though simply looking for food, thousands of species of bees and other insects and animals help plants to reproduce.

Of the estimated 240,000 flowering plants worldwide, 91 percent require an insect or animal to distribute their pollen in order to set fruit and seed. That includes one-third of all crops grown for people, including citrus fruits, almonds, berries, squash and cotton.

Most people recognize that bees are important for pollinating, but that’s not all. Many species of butterflies, bats, birds, moths, flies and other mammals are also in the pollinating business. They are so essential to reproduction that most of the world's plant life could not exist without them.

Even you pollinate, knowingly and unknowingly.

Humans pollinate to create hybrids, stronger plants, certain attributes, color, production and so on.

We also pollinate when we brush flowers when we dead head, pick crops, walk through fields, etc.

Despite the critically important service most insects provide, pollination has been taken for granted and they are in jeopardy.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we are facing an "impending pollination crisis," in which both wild and managed pollinators are disappearing at alarming rates. In the U.S. the number of honeybees has decreased by 25 percent in the past decade due to a parasitic mite.

Meanwhile, wild pollinators are threatened by habitat loss, pesticide use and disease—just as researchers are learning how valuable and efficient many of these pollinators are.

Honey bee

You can help improve the plight of these creatures, starting in your own yard and gardens. Can you imagine a patchwork of pollinator gardens all across North America, even the globe?

It can happen when we build and create diverse communities of beneficial insects (insects attract birds).

You might say you are getting back to nature, or the way God had it planned, or simply call it "Gardening For Wildlife."

Protecting Pollinators

Pollination Primers

Pollination

What Are Pollen Sacs

Now, Meet some of our Pollinators.

Bumble Bees

Orchard Mason Bees

Leafcutter Bees

Ground Bees

Squash Bees

European Honey Bees

Moths

Butterflies

Hoverflies

Hummingbirds

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