- Key to species featured on poster
- Brief information about migration and all species featured on the poster
- How the USFWS helps migratory pollinators featured on the 2012 Poster
WHY POLLINATORS ARE IMPORTANT
Pollinators, such as most bees and some birds, bats, and other insects, play a crucial role in flowering plant reproduction and in the production of most fruits and vegetables. Examples of crops that are pollinated include apples, squash, and almonds. Without the assistance of pollinators, most plants cannot produce fruits and seeds. The fruits and seeds of flowering plants are an important food source for people and wildlife. Some of the seeds that are not eaten will eventually produce new plants, helping to maintain the plant population.
In the United States pollination by honey bees directly or indirectly (e.g., pollination required to produce seeds for the crop) contributed to over $19 billion of crops in 2010. Pollination by other insect pollinators contributed to nearly $10 billion of crops in 2010. A recent study of the status of pollinators in North America by the National Academy of Sciences found that populations of honey bees (which are not native to North America) and some wild pollinators are declining. Declines in wild pollinators may be a result of habitat loss and degradation, while declines in managed bees is linked to disease (introduced parasites and pathogens). Find out more about migrating pollinators: Mexican long-nosed bat White-winged Doves Lesser long-nosed bat Rufous Hummingbird Hear podcasts about pollinators Gardening for Pollinators . Bee Deaths May Have Reached A Crisis Point For Crops May 07, 2013 6:03 PM by DAN CHARLES – NPR Pettis says beekeepers can afford to lose only about 15 percent of their colonies each year. More than that, and the business won’t be viable for long. According to a new survey of America’s beekeepers, almost a third of the country’s honeybee colonies did not make it through the winter. That’s been the case, in fact, almost every year since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began this annual survey, six years ago. Over the past six years, on average, 30 percent of all the honeybee colonies in the U.S. died off over the winter. The worst year was five years ago. Last year was the best: Just 22 percent of the colonies died. “Last year gave us some hope,” says Jeffrey Pettis, research leader of the Agriculture Department’s Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. But this year, the death rate was up again: 31 percent. Six years ago, beekeepers were talking a lot about “colony collapse disorder” — colonies that seemed pretty healthy, but suddenly collapsed. The bees appeared to have flown away, abandoning their hives. Beekeepers aren’t seeing that so much anymore, Pettis says. They’re mostly seeing colonies that just dwindle. As the crowd of bees gets smaller, it gets weaker. “They can’t generate heat very well in the spring to rear brood. They can’t generate heat to fly,” he says. For more: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/05/07/181990532/bee-deaths-may-have-reached-a-crisis-point-for-crops .
How You Can Help
Pollinators need your help! There is increasing evidence that many pollinators are in decline. However, there are some simple things you can do at home to encourage pollinator diversity and abundance. 1) Plant a Pollinator Garden The most obvious need for pollinating species is a diversity of nectar and pollen sources. Consider the following when choosing plants for your garden:
- Choose plants that flower at different times of the year to provide nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing season
- Plant in clumps, rather than single plants, to better attract pollinators
- Provide a variety of flower colors and shapes to attract different pollinators. NAPPC’s Pollinator Syndrome table provides information on the types of flowers that different pollinator groups (bats, hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, etc.) find attractive.
- Whenever possible, choose native plants. Native plants will attract more native pollinators and can serve as larval host plants for some species of pollinators. Check field guides to find out which plants the larval stage of local butterflies eat. Pollinator friendly plants for your area can be found in NAPPC’s Ecoregional Planting Guides. Contact your local or state native plant society for help. Information on finding native plants and native plant societies for your area
2) Build a Bee Block 3) Avoid or Limit Pesticide Use Pesticides can kill more than the target pest. Some pesticide residues can kill pollinators for several days after the pesticide is applied. Pesticides can also kill natural predators, which can lead to even worse pest problems. Consider the following when managing pests in your garden:
- Try removing individual pests by hand if possible (wearing garden gloves)
- Encourage native predators with a diverse garden habitat
- Expect and accept a little bit of pest activity
- If you must use a pesticide, choose one that is the least toxic to non-pest species, does not persist on vegetation, and apply it in the evening when most pollinators are not as active. Read and follow label directions carefully.
For more: http://www.fws.gov/pollinators/PollinatorPages/YourHelp.html#garden . Native pollinators boost crop yields worldwide Farmers may not get the most out of their crops if they rely solely on honeybees March 1, 2013 By Susan Milius – science news Honeybees may be busy, but they may not be efficient: Native pollinators could help farms worldwide produce bigger harvests. Without the aid of local free-living pollinators, “we are not reaching the potential yield we could,” says Lucas Garibaldi of the National University of Rio Negro and Argentina’s CONICET research network. Communities of wild pollinators are more efficient overall than honeybees, he says. Crop yield increased as more wild visitors came to farms. Garibaldi and an international team reported February 28 in Science. The paper argues the global importance of native pollinators, says insect ecologist Frank Drummond of the University of Maine in Orono who was not one of the 50 coauthors. “It’s not just some little teeny field,” he says. Farmers have long assumed that wild insects “could be replaced with a lot of hives of honeybees without any problem,” Garibaldi says. Biologists knew that wild pollinators matter to wild plants as well as to certain crops such as blueberries, but not to commercial agriculture as a whole. Garibaldi and his colleagues looked at details such as the rate at which particular insect species visited flowers at 600 sites growing a total of 41 crops on all continents except Antarctica. Farms varied from industrial-scale almond farms and full-sun coffee operations to backyard cucumber patches. Native pollinators enhanced yields regardless of whether farmers provided honeybees as well, Garibaldi says. For more: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/348685/description/Native_pollinators_boost_crop_yields_worldwide .
6/20/14 President Obama issued a memorandum directing U.S. government agencies to take additional steps to protect and restore domestic populations of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies – critical contributors to our nation’s economy, food system, and environmental health.
- Fact Sheet: The Economic Challenge Posed by Declining Pollinator Populations
- 6/24/14 American Beekeeping Federation President Tim Tucker “On behalf of the American Beekeeping Federation, I would like to express our appreciation to President Obama for his recent Presidential Memorandum, “Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.”
American Beekeeping Federation http://www.abfnet.org