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Why ‘Bee’ Concerned about Pollinators? They are the Little Things that Run the World!

Bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are important pollinators for many food crops and medicinal plants, like this purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Photo Credit: FS photo by Teresa Prendusi

Bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are important pollinators for many food crops and medicinal plants, like this purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Photo Credit: FS photo by Teresa Prendusi

Every time you walk into your garden to enjoy a beautiful flower or pick a fruit, think about thanking a bee, butterfly or hummingbird. These and other kinds of animals are pollinators and the subject of USDA’s participation in the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign which celebrates National Pollinator Week June 18-24.

Think about the abundance of fruits and vegetables bountifully displayed when you visit a local supermarket or farmers market. That wealth of choice resulted from the thankful activity of the essential world of pollinators.

Pollinator species provide significant environmental benefits necessary for healthy, biodiverse ecosystems. USDA assists producers in promoting wise conservation stewardship, including the protection and maintenance of pollinators, and their habitats on working lands and wildlands. More than 80 percent of the world’s flowering plants require a pollinator to reproduce. Animals that assist plants in their reproduction as pollinators include: species of bats, butterflies, moths, flies, birds, beetles, ants, and bees.

Butterflies, such as this eastern swallowtail, are important pollinators for many beautiful wildflowers like this dwarf Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium dubium). Photo Credit: FS photo by Dennis Krusac

Butterflies, such as this eastern swallowtail, are important pollinators for many beautiful wildflowers like this dwarf Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium dubium). Photo Credit: FS photo by Dennis Krusac

Why do pollinators visit flowers? Pollinators visit flowers in search of food, mates, shelter and nest-building materials.  The secret bond of the partnership is that neither plant nor pollinator populations can exist in isolation – should one disappear, the other may be one generation away from disaster.

Pollinators obtain food in the form of energy-rich nectar and/or protein-rich pollen from the flowers they visit. In return, the pollinated flowers are able to develop and produce seed.  While food is often a sufficient lure for pollinators, flowering plants also attract pollinators using a combination of shape, scent and/or color. For example, some plants use mimicry to deceive animals into visiting their flowers without having to provide a reward. The PollinatorLIVE distance learning program for young students has more information on the health of the pollinator population.

So, the next time you enjoy a slice of watermelon or pumpkin pie, take a moment and thank the pollinator that made it all possible.

Learn more about pollinators from the U.S. Forest Service.

Pollen wasps like this Pseudomaseris vespiodes may resemble yellowjackets but looks can be deceiving. These wasps are solitary, shy and vegetarian (only eat pollen and nectar). They help maintain wild ecosystems healthy and are primary pollinators of the beautiful Wasatch Penstemon. Photo caption: FS photo by Teresa Prendusi

Pollen wasps like this Pseudomaseris vespiodes may resemble yellowjackets but looks can be deceiving. These wasps are solitary, shy and vegetarian (only eat pollen and nectar). They help maintain wild ecosystems healthy and are primary pollinators of the beautiful Wasatch Penstemon. Photo caption: FS photo by Teresa Prendusi

4 Responses to “Why ‘Bee’ Concerned about Pollinators? They are the Little Things that Run the World!”

  1. Amber says:

    Great information! It is amazing how interconnected and interdependent all ecosystems are.

  2. Gus Bourdieu says:

    Honey Bees are the most important pollinators.

  3. fatima says:

    Bees and Honey are very important in our daily life and for our healthy, too.

  4. Janet says:

    My husband and I purchased bee hive boxes last year and just robbed the hives last weekend. We are learning so much about bees we did not know. The honey is beautiful in color and taste great too.

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