The Importance of Pollinators and How to Protect Them

Pollinators support a healthy ecosystem which is vital for the survival of humans and animals

Pollinators are extremely important to agriculture, our food system, and ecosystems. They help thousands of flowering plants reproduce, from flowers to fruits (i.e. strawberries, cherries, apples) and even some crops. These pollinators help produce over 1,000 healthy crops worldwide for food, beverages, fibers, spices, edible oils, medicines, and other products. The commodities produced with the help of pollinators generate significant income for producers and those who benefit from a productive agricultural community. Pollinators are also essential components of the habitats and ecosystems that many wild animals rely on for food and shelter. Pollinator habitat can also provide benefits on the farm, such as increasing yields with higher quality crops, preventing soil erosion and improving biodiversity. Their work is crucial to roughly one third of the United States agricultural and food production system.

Pollinators: Bees, butterflies, wasps, beetles and more

Bees get most of the credit for pollinating, and for very good reason. There are over 4,000 species of bees in the United States and they’re responsible for some of the most well-known foods like honey and almonds. Honey bees visit five million flowers to make just one pint of honey. While butterflies, wasps, beetles, and some small mammals also support pollination and play important parts of the food ecosystem. One of every three bites of food relies on pollinators to some degree, including many of our favorite fruits, vegetables, coffee, and nuts. Without these pollinators, our meals would be a lot less colorful!

Pollinators look for sources with a flat surface for them to land. As the pollinator collects pollen from the flower’s anthers (male part of flower) it also gets on their body which allows the pollen to be distributed during flight to nearby fruits and crops where the pollen sticks to the stigma (female part of flower). The fertilized flower can now produce fruit and seeds.

Übee Nutrition and Pollinators

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*The Food and Drug Administration has not approved these statements. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

Protecting pollinators by establishing healthy pollinator habitats

Plant a variety of plants that bloom from early spring to late fall. Planting in clumps will help pollinators find plants. Choose plants that are native to your region, meaning that they are adapted to local climate, soil, and pollinator species. Including plants that bloom at night will attract bats and moths.

  1. Consider the soil characteristics, site drainage, sunlight, and other factors when selecting plants.
  2. Provide a variety of flower colors and shapes to attract different pollinators.
  3. Plant in clumps, rather than single plants, to better attract pollinators.
  4. Choose plants that flower at different times of the year to provide nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing season.
  5. Whenever possible, choose native plants. These plants will be better adapted to your soil type, climate, precipitation, and local pollinators.
  6. Reduce or eliminate pesticide use. If you must use a pesticide in your yard or garden, use the least toxic product possible. Pesticides can be particularly harmful to bees, so read the product label carefully and apply it at night, when bees and many other pollinators are not active.
  7. Visit a plant nursery to ask about pollinator plants suited for your site conditions.
  8. Pollinators need water too. You can provide water for pollinators with a shallow dish, bowl, or birdbath with half-submerged stones for perches.
  9. Create a bee habitat if you have a larger yard. Leaving a dead tree or tree limb in your yard provides nesting habitat for bees. You can also create a “bee condo” by drilling holes of various sizes about three to five inches deep in a piece of scrap lumber. Mount the lumber to a post or under eaves with southern exposure. Keep habitats at a safe distance from areas you congregate in.
  10. Provide nectar for hummingbirds. Make nectar by combining four parts water to one part table sugar (do not use honey, artificial sweeteners, or fruit juices). Add something red to the feeder to attract hummingbirds, and be sure to clean the feeder with hot, soapy water twice a week.


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