Discover the group of diverse and important organisms know as native pollinators. Pollinators impact the lives of humans, animals, plants and other insects, making them a group which is critical to life as we know it.
Butterflies Ants Bees Bats Moths Birds Beetles Wasps Mammals Humans
What is pollination?
Pollination is required for flowering plants to produce seed for the next generation. Pollen produced by a plant is located on the anthers of a flower, but must reach the stigma, where the wind or an insect aids in transporting pollens...(more: US Forest Service - What is Pollination?)
STATUS OF POLLINATORS IN NORTH AMERICA
Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America
Board on Life Sciences
Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division on Earth and Life Studies
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Small is Beautiful
It is typical of the mystery of nature that small deeds make profound impacts. None more-so than the work of our diminuative neighbors, or rather 'partners', called insects. Ironic as well, is the realization that these creatures, many of which have borne the social stigmas of pests to be feared or eradicated, should turn out to be some of our greatest allies. The small deeds of people to protect and provide habitat for these creatures can also be profound.
A growing interest in native pollinators, specifically bees, is partially a result of massive public awareness about the decline of European honeybees world wide. Continued research into the cause of honeybee decline, called 'colony collapse disorder' or CCD, as well as support of native pollinator species can help to promote a healthy and vibrant population of these hard-working organisms.
Reduce the use of industrial pesticides where possible. If you must use them, do so according to the manufacturers directions, and preferably when there is no wind, or even at night when pollinating bees and butterflies would not come in direct contact with the chemical as it's being applied.
Excerpt from: The plight of bees August 2010 http://www.extension.umn.edu/honeybees/components/pubs.htm
MARLA SPIVAK* - University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota
ERICMADER, MACE VAUGHAN - Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Portland, Oregon
NED H . EULISS , JR . - U.S. Geological Survey, Jamestown, North Dakota
Protection from Pesticides
A factor that can be addressed at multiple levels is the use of pesticides. In particular, while extensive literature exists on the sublethal effects of insecticides on bees in the laboratory, little exists on sublethal effects to colonies under natural conditions. Common insecticides such as neonicotinoids and pyrethroids have been shown to affect learning, foraging activities, and nest site orientation by honey bees at sublethal doses.
Individual farmers and homeowners have the ability to mitigate harm to pollinators through simple changes in application methods such as avoiding treatments around blooming plants or to areas where bees are nesting. Evening spraying when bees are less active is another simple, underutilized way to reduce harm. The best course of action, and the one most accessible to gardeners, for whom insect damage is cosmetic rather than economic, is to eliminate the use of pesticides entirely.
The Need for Habitat
The third major challenge facing bees is a lack of season-long food sources, especially in agricultural landscapes where, if bee-pollinated plants even exist, they typically consist of large monocultures like cranberries, canola, or almonds, which provide only a few weeks of abundant food followed by a season-long dearth. Roughly 360 million hectares, or more than one-third, of the lower 48 states are managed as private cropland, pasture, or rangeland. This makes agriculture the largest land use activity in the country and thus one with the most potential impact on bees.
Specific habitat guidelines for all of these landscapes (rural, urban, roadside) vary across regions. Baseline habitat guidelines encourage the inclusion of at least 3 different plant species that bloom at any given time during the growing season (spring, summer, fall), with more being even better. For planting recommendations, visit: www.xerces.org/pollinator-conservation
Preserving natural habitat is ideal, however many young communities do not have the old growth type woodlands to support large and diverse number of native pollinators. Some pollinators can travel long distances such as butterflies, bats, hummingbirds and moths, but other cannot. Many small mammals such as chipmunks and voles live in a relatively smaller area, as do many bees and wasps which are also important pollinators. Preserving wild areas even on smaller properties can be an important oasis to pollinators.
Plant native species of wildflowers and herbs appropriate for your geographic location. Native pollinators need native plants. In many cases, the pollinator may require a specific host plant, or more amazing, the plant and the pollinator have co-evolved so as to each attain their needs in the relationship. Learn more about native plants and organizations such as Native Seed Search and Seed Savers
Place native bee houses in your garden or orchard.Bee Habitat! Provide nesting houses for native bees such as yellow-faced bees, plasterer bees, leafcutter bees, blue orchard bees and other mason bees.
Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators
MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators
Pollinators contribute substantially to the economy of the United States and are vital to keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the United States. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant loss of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies, from the environment. The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment.
Bees are pulling a disappearing act. Honeybees are vanishing from their hives. Bumblebee numbers have crashed so radically that some species are believed extinct. Even native solitary bees are in decline. Food supplies dependent upon pollinators are threatened.
But gardeners can help.
There is no single explanation for what is causing the pollinator losses, said Matt O’Neal, an associate professor of entomology at Iowa State University.
The honeybee has hogged the pollination spotlight for centuries, but native bees are now getting their fair share of buzz: They are two to three times better pollinators than honeybees, are more plentiful than previously thought and not as prone to the headline-catching colony collapse disorder that has decimated honeybee populations, says Cornell entomology professor Bryan Danforth.
DEL REY, Calif. (AP) Dozens of farmers in California and other states have started replacing some of their crops with flowers and shrubs that are enticing to bees, hoping to lower their pollination costs and restore a bee population devastated in the past few years.
Bees are nature’s most important and efficient pollinators.
Although bees may sting if they feel threatened near their nests the majority of North America’s 4,000 native bee species probably won't sting you under normal circumstances
So get to know your native beesand learn how to bee-friend them.
Bee Pollinators of S.W. Virginia Crops (revised 6 June 2010)
Clips of bee behavior (primarily native bees) pollinating peach, apple, blueberry, blackberry, and various types of cucurbits (squash, melon, cucumber, water...