The importance of pollinators

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Eleven years ago the U.S Senate unanimously approved and designated a week in June as National Pollinator Week as a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of the declining beneficial pollinator populations here in the states and abroad. This year June 18-24 is National Pollinator Week.

Beneficial pollinators include but are not limited to certain birds, bees, bats, butterflies, beetles and even some small mammals.

I would presume that most folks are aware of the dramatically declining honey bee population that has been a growing global concern over the past decade. The unfortunate collapse of the honey bee colonies have garnered much deserved attention while continuing to experience one debilitating problem after another. The Varroe mite, exposure to pesticides and poor nutrition due to the loss of habitat as a result of human development have all proven to be responsible in part. The sad truth is collectively we still do not have the exact reasons for the honey bee’s continual decline identified.

Unfortunately, the situation is much bigger than the honey bee. The world’s pollinators are disappearing at an alarming rate and while it may not rate high on the list of priorities for many, it should.

Nearly 80 percent of all flowering plants are pollinated by insects. I cannot imagine a world devoid of flowers, but even more alarming is the fact that 75 percent of all agricultural food crops have some dependence on pollinators. Coffee, chocolate, apples, watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and tequila are just a few items of consumption we can thank pollinators for. Now if I have not gotten your attention with those statistics also consider that half of the world’s fibers and raw materials depend on pollinators also.

To sum it all up beneficial pollinators play a very big role in the world’s ability to sustain our food supply, global agriculture and commerce. They sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural agricultural resources by helping plants reproduce.

You can help beneficial pollinators by planting a variety of native plants in your landscape that bloom from early spring to fall, eliminate pesticide use whenever possible, create natural habitats and keep water supplies clean and safe. I believe that education remains the best tool in solving difficult problems, so spread the word about National Pollinators Week. It’s in all of our best interests.

Some organizations that may be of help and interest are the FOA (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.) www. A global pollination project focusing on the steps needed to bring wild pollinators back to the agricultural fields. They include farming communities, national partners and policy makers in seven pilot countries that are raising awareness of the need to develop agriculture policy and practices that support beneficial pollinators. Also Pollinator Partnership www.

Let’s celebrate these mighty warriors in their fight for survival, for without their support the human race may find themselves in the most perilous of states themselves.

Dawn Conrad can be reached at conrad. gardenmuse@gmail. com or gardenmuse.