This week is National Pollinator Week and we couldn’t be more excited! You have probably been hearing more about pollinators in the last few years and wondering what exactly all the fuss is about. The populations of pollinators (which include bees, butterflies, flies, wasps, hummingbirds, and bats) are changing and some populations are in decline. This is due mostly to loss of nesting habitat and food source. Other contributors include disease, chemical misuse, pollution, and changes in climate patterns.
Pollinators are an important part of our food source as humans. One to every 3 or 4 bites of food we take can be attributed to the influence of pollinators. Those slices of tasty tomatoes on your BLT wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for pollinators. Flowering plants need pollinators to produce viable seed so they can continue to create new generations.
What can we do to help?
Continue educating yourself. Keep reading articles from trusted sources to have a better understanding of the life cycles of pollinators and how your actions may impact pollinator populations.
Plant pollinator plants.
Learn about the options for annuals, perennials, herbs, trees, and shrubs that are beneficial to pollinators. Start with native plants. You don’t have to completely turn your lawn into a prairie. Start small. Even a few plants chosen specifically for the varying needs of pollinators would have a great impact if everyone chose to participate.
Overcome your fear of bees.
It is startling when you are outside and you hear that buzzing around your head. Instead of blindly swatting around and aggravating your insect friend, try to relax. Look around, find the bee. See what flowers are in bloom in the area that the pollinators might be visiting. Watch their visits to each flower. Seeing these hard workers doing their job helps you appreciate their impact on our natural world and takes away some of our instinctual fear of them.
Limit your use of insecticides.
Many chemicals we use in our landscapes to control insect pests can harm pollinators as well. Research the pests you need to control before aggressively spraying. There might be options that can minimize the risk of harm to pollinators while effectively controlling other insect pests.
Share your knowledge and deeds.
Talk about pollinator to your friends ands and neighbors. Just saying, ‘I planted a couple of pollinator-friendly perennials this year’ can inspire others to want to learn more and continue the positive action of invigorating our pollinator populations.