Pollinators give us many reasons to celebrate them. They are responsible for the reproduction of nearly 85 percent of flowering plants around the world, allowing plants that are food or habitat for other wildlife to persist. Pollinators also become food themselves for other wildlife, like songbirds. The Xerxes Society
Pollinators are vitally important to agriculture, too. More than two-thirds of crop species — crops that produce fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, seeds, and livestock forage — depend on them. From the coffee you drink in the morning to the apple pie you have for dessert, an estimated one-in-three mouthfuls you consume come from a pollinator-dependent crop.
Beyond the crucial ecosystem services they provide, pollinators are a diverse and fascinating group of animals in their own right. They include bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, some bats, some beetles, flies and wasps. We celebrate their amazing biology: the monarch butterfly’s incredible long-distance migration, the unique buzz pollination behavior exhibited by bumble bees, and the way hawk moths, mid-flight, suspend themselves in the air to sip nectar from flowers.
Meanwhile, pollinator declines — like that of the managed European honeybee, one-fourth of North America’s native bumble bee species, and the iconic monarch butterfly — show that pollinators shouldn’t be taken for granted. There are simple steps that everyone can take to conserve pollinators, including creating pollinator gardens, restoring natural areas, and protecting pollinators from pesticides.
Here are just a few of the ways that Xerces currently protects pollinators:
- Increasing the availability of milkweed seed to help create monarch butterfly habitat;
- Working with farmers to create pesticide-free, flower-rich habitat on farms;
- Engaging thousands of citizens in a nationwide search for rare bumble bees;
- Teaching farmers, scientists, conservationists, home gardeners and others about Pollinator Conservation all over the U.S.;
- Providing tools through the Pollinator Resource Center to assist in the direct application of habitat management, native species identification, and more;
- Making science accessible by publishing reports such as Are Neonicotinoids Killing Bees?