The Importance of Pollinators
Pollinators are organisms that carry pollen from one flower to another. Key pollinators include birds, bees, butterflies, bats, beetles, and even ants. In the U.S. there are over 150 food crops which require animal pollination in order to produce fruit and seeds needed for reproduction. Up to 95% of all flowering plants on earth need help with pollination. In addition to the food that we eat, pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support other wildlife. All pollinators play a key role in our ecosystem and crop development, but when it comes to impact, honey bees are the clear winner. Each year pollination by honey bees directly and indirectly contribute to an estimated $19 billion in economic impact which is $9 billion more than all others combined.
Many pollinator populations, including honey bees, are in decline and this decline is attributed most severely to a loss in feeding and nesting habitat. In 2017 the bumblebee was added to the Endangered Species list.
Fun Facts About Honey Bees
- A Single Honey Bee Worker Produces About 1/12th of a Teaspoon of Honey in Her Lifetime.
- The Queen Honey Bee Lays Up to 1,500 Eggs per Day, and May Lay Up to 1 Million in Her Lifetime.
- A worker bee may visit up to 2,000 flowers per day.
- Honey bees can fly up to speeds of 15 mph.
Mason Bees (The Gentle Bee)
Of the 4,000 bee species in North America, Mason Bees are among the easiest to raise, while also being gentle and amazing pollinators. By raising Mason Bees, we can increase their population. It’s a great way to supplement the stressed Honey Bee and sustain our future food supply.
The Mason Bee is a very productive pollinator for spring flowers, fruits, and nuts. The female carries pollen on the underside of her hairy abdomen and then scrapes the pollen off within her nesting hole. Because the pollen is carried dry on her hair, it falls off easily as she moves among flowers. You can attract beneficial mason bees by simply erecting a Mason Bee house. Casey’s has a great selection of mason bee houses!
For more information on Mason Bees visit: www. thehoneybeeconservancy.org/mason-bees
Plants & Trees That Attract Pollinators
Aster, Basil, Black-eyed Susan, Cotoneaster, Elder, Goldenrod, English Lavender, Huckleberry, Lantana, Lupine, Penstemon, Coneflower, Rosemary, Rhododendron, Sage Salvia, Sunflowers, Buckwheat, Lilac, Willow, and Zinnias. Blazing Stars, Butterfly Bush, Butterfly Milkweed, Cardinal Flower, Coral Bells, Snapdragons, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Dianthus, Marigolds, Mexican Sunflowers, Petunias, Verbena, Trees- Cherry, Tulip, Magnolia & Oak.
Butterflies Are Great Pollinators
Did you know that butterflies are the 2nd leading pollinators? They are 2nd only behind bees. Great nectar-producing plants that attract butterflies include: Asters, Black-eyed Susan, Blazing Stars, Butterfly Bush, Butterfly Milkweed, Cardinal Flower, Coral Bells, Lantana, Milkweed, Coneflowers, Snapdragons, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Dianthus, Lantana, Marigolds, Mexican Sunflowers, Petunias, Salvia, Shasta Daisy, Sunflowers, Verbena, Thistle, Yarrow & Zinnias. Casey’s has a great selection of Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens pollinator plants to help you attract butterflies and other pollinators.