Helping to protect the pollinator community

The week of June 18-24 is National Pollinator Week.

The week is proudly sponsored by the Pollinator Partnership, whose mission is to promote the health of pollinators critical to food and ecosystems across the globe.

Many don’t realize that pollinators provide pollination to over 180,000 plant species and more that 1,200 crops. That translates to one out of every three bites of food you eat are compliments of the pollinator community.

Honey bees alone are responsible for some $5 billion in agricultural productivity in the United States.

The honey bee is also the one pollinator continuously struggling.

In a May 2018 article from Greenhouse Management, the nation’s beekeeping community lost about 40% of their honey bee colonies between April 2017 and May 2018 – a 7% increase from the previous year.

Much of the decline is due to the cold winter months. “Winter is a critical period for honey bee colonies, as production of new bees slows or stops altogether.” – Geoffrey Williams, Assistant Profession at Auburn University.

Other serious issues also add to the decline including insects (most notably mites), diseases and global warming.

But there are many ways we can help support the pollinator community – honey bees specifically – by providing them a healthy environment to safely thrive in.

Greenhouse produce producers for instance are utilizing natural pollination inside their facilities to help improve crop quality, increase yield, reduce labor and yes, help nurture and protect pollinators.

Growers and nurseries are beginning to add more and more pollinator friendly plants and shrubs to their assortment, while also providing education and information. They include, but are not limited to, Thyme, Sedum, Ice Plant, Butterfly Weed, Dahlia, Blanket Flower, Veronica, Day lily, Oriental lily, Delphinium, Clematis, Honeysuckle, Wisteria, Gladiola, Hibiscus and many more.

Some other ways you can help during Pollinator Week and all year long is by supporting farmers and beekeepers by buying local honey and produce, donating to scientific research and perhaps most importantly to make room in your yard to plant the right plants.

Spread the word and do your part to help protect our valuable pollinators.