The week is proudly sponsored by the Pollinator Partnership, whose mission is to promote the health and sustainability of pollinators critical to our food supply and ecosystems across the globe.
From the Pollinator Partnership, “Pollinators are essential to our daily life. Imagine a cup without coffee, a garden without flowers or a plate without food. With the decline of pollinators on the rise, our food is on the line. More than 200,000 species of pollinators are critical to the growth of our food supply. Without them, we would go hungry.”
To the surprise of many, pollinators are not just comprised of the bee community, although they are one of the largest. Pollinators also include birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps and even some small mammals.
In short, pollinators are species that frequently visit flowers to drink nectar and feed off pollen, which they help transport and spread as they move from spot to spot. And they are busy! In the United States alone, it’s estimated that pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of food products annually.
Honeybees alone are responsible for some $5 billion in agricultural productivity in the United States and yet they are the species in the greatest peril.
In fact, between the years 1947 and 2005, the number of honeybees in the United States declined by over 40 percent, from 5.9 million to 2.4 million.
According to the website sos-bees.org, “The main reasons for global bees-decline are industrial agriculture, parasites/pathogens and climate change. The loss of biodiversity, destruction of habitat and lack of forage due to monocultures and bee-killing pesticides are particular threats for honeybees and wild pollinators”.
How to help
The good news is there are simple and effective ways you can help protect the pollinators in your communities.
First and foremost, plant more pollinator friendly plants. From window boxes, to corporate campuses to roadside corridors – there are habitat opportunities virtually everywhere. Use the BeeSmart Pollinator Gardener App to find plants that are suitable for your specific climate area.
Growers and nurseries are beginning to add more and more pollinator friendly plants and shrubs to their assortment, while also providing education and information about pollinators. They include, but are not limited to, Thyme, Sedum, Ice Plant, Butterfly Weed, Dahlia, Blanket Flower, Veronica, Day lily, Oriental lily, Delphinium, Clematis, Honeysuckle, Wisteria, Gladiola, Hibiscus and many more.
Additional ways you can help pollinators include:
- Reducing your reliance on pesticides – especially around established pollinator habitats or pollinator friendly plants and shrubs.
- Supporting local bees and beekeepers by buying local honey and supporting organic farming.
- Helping conserve our resources as pollinators are heavily influenced by climate change.
Albert Einstein once remarked, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
Spread the word and help do your part to help protect our valuable pollinators today.