Pollinators, the little critters that are responsible for providing us with roughly one-third of our food, are in trouble. Their populations have been declining for years, so 11 years ago, the US Senate designated a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” to help raise awareness and address this issue. To find a Pollinator related event near you or to learn more about the designated week, click here!
Many people immediately think of bees and butterflies as pollinators, however there are so many more species that fall under this category! Birds, bats, beetles, moths, and even some flies can be considered pollinators as well. A pollinator is simply an animal that helps plants reproduce by moving pollen grains from the male to female part of the plant.
Unfortunately, these amazing animals are being severely impacted by climate change, chemical pollution, habitat destruction and fragmentation, invasive species increase, and disease. The Mexican Long-nosed Bat is one of these animals. These agave pollinators (anyone like Tequila or using agave as a natural sweetener?) call Mexico their home for the winter and spring and migrate to Texas and New Mexico during the summer to feed on agave. Climate Change is impacting their food source and habitat destruction, specifically from the proposed Border Wall, threatens their migration route. With this large, man-made barrier in the way, these bats will have a hard time migrating north with their babies.
Another “closer-to-home” endangered pollinator is the Rusty Patched Bumblebee. This species was the first wild bee to be added to the list of endangered species. This bee has been impacted severely by disease and habitat destruction (mainly due to urban development and intensive agriculture farming) and their population has decreased by 87% in the last 20 years!
I won’t leave you on a depressing note, though. There is always something that you can do to help the pollinators in your area thrive! Here is my top 10 list of ways to help local pollinator populations (as always, feel free to comment below and let me know your favorite ways of helping!):
- Create new habitat. From adding window boxes in your home to seed-bombing roadsides, there’s always space for new pollinator habitat!
- Plant natives in clusters. Native plants will be the pollinator’s ideal food source and the large cluster will easily attract them.
- Plant for continuous bloom. These animals need a sustainable food source, so be sure that your plants will bloom spring-fall! Providing habitat like dead branches/trees will provide winter homes for wood-nesters.
- Eliminate chemical pesticides. Use biological methods of pest control and try planting “companion plants” (plants that deter pests to other plants).
- Check out the BeeSmart Pollinator Gardener App! It helps you select the best plants for the pollinators in your area that need it the most.
- Support local beekeepers! They are busy boosting the bee population and guess what – eating locally farmed honey can increase your immune system and help prevent the symptoms of seasonal allergies! It’s a win-win.
- Make your Carbon Footprint a little greener. Climate change impacts pollinators as severe weather can through off migrations, destroy food resources, and reduce habitat.
- Be a part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge! Register your garden (no matter the size) as a garden that serves, not deters, pollinators.
- Know what your favorite pollinator likes. There’s nothing wrong with preferring cute hummingbirds or beautiful butterflies to beetles and flies – but make sure that you are planting to attract them! Hummingbirds love the color red and butterflies like having flat topped flowers to land on. Do be sure to have some plants for everyone though!
- Share your love of nature with your friends and family! The best way to help declining populations is to raise awareness and show others why protecting these amazing animals is so important.
A great way to share this love is through art! Home decor/wall art can be a great conversation starter, so click here to go to my Products page or visit my Etsy site, The Art of Ecology, to bring a dose of pollinator love to your home today! Remember – a portion of all proceeds goes back towards wildlife conservation, habitat preservation, and environmental education – another great way to help pollinators in need!
Use these photo names if ordering from this website:
- Hummingbird Moth
- Chicory and the Bumblebee
- Hummingbirds at Feeder