Recognize national pollinator week
The role of pollinators and perennial flowers is so integral to the health of the earth’s food production that since 2007, a week in June has been designated to celebrate their contributions. National Pollinator Week for 2019 is June 17 – 23. Among the 200,000 insect species of pollinators are bees, butterflies, beetles, and flies, which help support the agricultural ecosystem. In addition to insects, there are more than 1,000 vertebrates such as birds, bats, and small mammals responsible for pollinating plants. It is essential to our own survival that we all help create a supportive habitat to reverse the decline of pollinators.
Busy as bees
Most flowering plants need the help of pollinators to reproduce and honey bees are an important part of the process. You’ve witnessed their buzzing in a garden, busily extracting nectar from the flower blossoms. Not only are they grabbing a meal for themselves, they’re collecting pollen on their bodies and fertilizing the next flower they visit, thereby contributing to a new generation of plants. The Pollinator Partnership has a great technical illustration of how the plant fertilization process works.
Pollinators struggle to survive
Many pollinator populations are in crisis. You’ve probably heard most about unsustainable losses (around 30 percent) of honey bees, as well as Monarch butterflies, whose numbers have declined 90 percent over the past 20 years. There are numerous, complex reasons for their shrinking numbers, but ranking at the top are:
- Fewer feeding and nesting habitats
- Pollution and climate change
- Misuse of pesticides and other chemicals
How you can curb pollinator decline
While curing disease and changing the course of the climate are daunting to most of us, there are important actions you can take to encourage a healthy pollinator population.
A portion of your yard can become an inviting habitat. Create a garden with native flowers and grasses that provide pollen and nectar—nourishing foods for bees and butterflies. Grow milkweed as a host for caterpillars, so they have a chance to develop into a Monarch.
For help, consult with Jeff Davis, Rock Solid’s landscape designer, for recommendations on the types of nectar-rich plants that offer pollinators continuous blooms throughout the growing season. The landscape professionals at Rock Solid can advise on the safest use of pesticides, if an application is necessary.
Creating a habitat for pollinators is not only good for the food supply ecosystem; it provides a beautiful, enchanting spot of nature for all species to enjoy.
For more information on pollinators:
- US Fish and Wildlife Service
- University of Minnesota Bee Lab
- Pollination Fast Facts
- Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources
- Bee Facts on Stings
Want to create a home garden to attract pollinators? Contact Rock Solid to get started.
Give us a call: 763-398-0739