Tuesday, June 19, 2012

National Pollinator Week - June 18-24th

bee4 I guess it’s a little apropos that I was so absorbed with the butterflies in my yard (see my last two posts: #1, #2) that I forgot to mention that this week is National Pollinator Week. Or maybe it snuck up on me because it is typically the final week in June (which is next week instead of this week).

In any case, National Pollinator Week is a great time to learn more about the valuable benefits that pollinators play in our gardens and in world-wide food production.

Five years ago, the first Pollinator Week was celebrated with  the unanimous approval of the  U.S. Senate.  Pollinator Week is now an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.

It is estimated that about 90% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollination (as opposed to wind pollination) and over 200,000 species of animals participate in the pollinating. Without pollinators, many plants would never produce fruit or set seed and many of the foods we eat would no longer be available. As if a world lacking chocolate and coffee wouldn’t be bad enough, wild creatures that rely on pollinated plants for food and shelter could also disappear.

Like so many other species, some pollinators are showing steady population declines. Although the declines in honeybee populations are mainly due to diseases, declines in wild pollinator populations are attributed to habitat loss, competition from invasive species and exposure to pesticides. This is a valuable reminder about why it is important for eco-friendly gardeners to eliminate pesticides.

There are several activities in the area to celebrate Pollinator Week, listed on the events page of the Pollinator Week website. But a visit to any of the local butterfly gardens or to a local beekeeper may be the best way to learn more about these important garden visitors.

And don’t forget that another great way to help protect pollinators is by supporting the Pollinator Plate project.

There are many posts on this blog related to butterflies and hummingbirds, two of my favorite pollinators. You can use the Topic Index at top to find them. Here are a few posts related specifically to pollinators:

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