What Are Pollinators?
Great question! Pollinators include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats. According to the National Resources Conservation Service, there are approximately 200,000 different species of animals around the world that act as pollinators. Of these, about 1,000 are vertebrates, such as birds, bats, and small mammals. The rest are invertebrates, including flies, beetles, butterflies, moths, and bees.
How Does Pollination Work?
Somewhere between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on the earth require pollinators. Pollinators provide their services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1,200 crops. One out of every three bites of food you eat is available because of pollinators.
You may remember learning about pollination in school. It occurs when pollen grain moves from the anther (male part) of a flower to the stigma (female part). This is the part that produces seeds, fruits, and the next generation of plants. Of course, wind and water can help with pollination, too, but the majority (90%) is made possible by these helpers.
How Can We Celebrate National Pollinator Week?
There has been a recent decline in pollinators, most notably impacting monarch butterflies. We can all help protect pollinators by creating safe places for these species to nest, rest, forage, and reproduce. Many farmers utilize CRP (the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program) ground to provide pollinator habitat to help improve the soil, water, and wildlife benefits in agriculture production. Some farmers use hedgerow or buffer strips. Many create habitats within their fields with cover crops or by using prairie strips. The benefits of these habitats and forages include a reduction in soil erosion, improved biodiversity, absorption of excess nitrogen, and overall improved soil health.
Pollinator week is June 20 through 26. This annual event is celebrated internationally in support of pollinator health.
Follow the links below for more information on pollinators and their vital importance to agriculture: