Friday, November 6, 2015

A Ray of Hope for Pollinators


 bee on flower

We hear a lot about the decline of pollinators, but how often do we hear people speak of the ray of hope that remains amidst the negative news? There is much to be concerned about and it may at times feel like we are swimming against a raging current, but saving our pollinators is worth the struggle when you consider that 75% of our crops rely on them. They fly from flower to flower carrying the pollen that will develop into fruit, vegetables, nuts, and more. Surprisingly, there are 20,000 bee species with only a few that our in charge of pollinating our crops and so it is important to save them.

Tiger Swallowtail

First, let’s consider the greatest threats to pollinators and then optimistic side. Habitat destruction is among the leading causes for population declines, but an even greater enemy threatens their health and even ours. What I’m referring to is pesticides. Our crops are laden with cancer causing pesticides. If workers have to wear masks when they spray these lethal chemicals can you imagine how they effect bees, butterflies, and other wildlife? Our mentality needs to change. We need to step back to get new perspectives.


Now that you’ve heard the bad news, what is the good news? The good news is that even if you aren’t a gardener you can do great things to help. You can slowly or quickly incorporate organic/local produce into your menu. You can support organizations that are working towards saving pollinators. The greatest thing though is starting a butterfly garden. Planting a garden of native wild flowers is ideal. Include a variety of annuals and perennials. Try looking at their different bloom times so that you have flowers from spring to fall.


Cosmos flowers are just one example of many that you can plant for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.


Sunflowers are very popular among bees. I get a lot of small native bees and bumble bees that come for a visit.

08-flies on flowers

I was surprised that flies like to visit flowers. This is a flower on the herb Yarrow.


This Gray Hairstreak butterfly is also enjoying Yarrow flowers. You are sure to make great discoveries when you start a garden. No matter what, never lose hope.