Oranges. Vegetables. Flowers. Nuts. None of these everyday items we take for granted would exist without the pollinators that make it possible for these plants to reproduce.
A bumblebee collecting pollen.
To put it in perspective, it's been estimated that pollinators are responsible for one out of three bites of food we humans eat. This week, June 15 through 21, is National Pollinator Week, a few days to appreciate these creatures and the huge part they play not only in our survival, but that of the planet. Responsible for the reproduction of 85% of the flowering plants around the world, they're critical for pollinating the plants that become food or habitat for other species. In addition, they themselves are a source of food for many birds and other wildlife.
Just who are these guys that we barely notice? Pollinators include bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, some bats, some beetles, flies and wasps. Here are some simple steps that you can take to show your appreciation:
- Plant native milkweed to help create monarch butterfly habitat.
- Buy organic products whenever possible and talk with farmers at the farmers' market about what they do to create pesticide-free, flower-rich habitat on their farms.
- When buying nursery plants for your garden, look for labels that say they haven't been treated with bee-killing pesticides like neonicotinoids.