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Bees and Pollinators

Insects are responsible for one out of every three bites of food. With new reports showing pollinators remain in steep decline, let’s get straight to what we can do about it. Fortunately, it’s been proven that regular homeowners can achieve a great deal! Here are 10 ideas to help pollinators from home—from simply adding wildflowers to decreasing pesticides.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware that the populations of our native bees, butterflies, and other insect pollinators have been declining for several decades. A study from January, 2019, indicates 40% of insect species are threatened with extinction. Perhaps you’ve noticed fewer butterflies and bees in your own backyard?

First, no insects means no food. One out of every three bites of food you eat is due to pollinators. About three-fourths of all flowering plants are pollinated by insects, as well as the crops that produce more than one-third of the world’s food supply. Importantly, insects are the bedrock of our entire ecosystem (birds, lizards, frogs, and other wildlife). Without insects, birds and fish and small mammals decline; if they decline, the entire food web is affected.

“Native” plants are simply plants that occur naturally in the region where they evolved. Native insects co-evolved with them, as did native birds and wildlife. It’s one big ecosystem!

Consider planting a pollinator strip as a border to a vegetable garden or a wildflower border along the edge of your field. You’ll improve pollination of your crops and also support bees when the crops stop blooming. It will also attract and support other pollinators, such as wasps and hoverflies, that control crop pests.

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