Pollinators – What the buzz is all about
June 29, 2017
Did you know? Every third week of June is Pollinator Week! National Pollinator Week is a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect them.
But why are pollinators so important?
Pollinators are often keystone species critical to an ecosystem. Without the assistance of pollinators, most plants can’t produce seeds and fruits which would leave people and wildlife without food.
The Pollinator Partnership has put together some interesting facts about pollinators:
- An estimated 1/3 of all foods and beverages is delivered by pollinators.
- In the US alone, pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.
- Worldwide, approximately 1,000 of the estimated 1,330 crop plantsgrown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend.
- Foods and beverages produced with the help of pollinators include: blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, peaches, pumpkins, vanilla, and almonds. Plants that depend on a single pollinator species, and likewise, pollinators that depend on a single type of plant for food are interdependent. If one disappears, so will the other.
Burt’s Bees, also an NC GreenPower sponsor, supports pollinators with many wonderful projects that promote honeybee health and sustainable agriculture. Their campaign to “Bring Back The Bees” spreads awareness and shows you how to take action to help the bees. For every purchase of a #BringBackTheBees lip balm, The Burt’s Bees Foundation will plant 5,000 wildflower seeds. Their goal is to plant two billion wildflower seeds!
They even have a Sustainable Living Credit, reimbursing their employees for expenses to become beekeepers or install and maintain pollinator-friendly gardens at their homes.
Bee City USA
Bee City USA, located in Asheville, NC recognizes cities across the US for pollinator stewardship. Any city can become certified as a Bee City USA affiliate by committing to creating sustainable habitats for pollinators. They foster ongoing dialogue in urban areas to raise awareness of the role pollinators play in our communities and what each of us can do to provide them with healthy habitat. So far they have awarded 49 bee cities. Raleigh, Durhamand Carrboro are just three of the ten bee cities located in North Carolina.
Bee Downtown installs and maintains sustainable bee communities for businesses in urban areas. Starting with one of the nation’s fastest growing regions, the Triangle, their beekeepers work to repopulate the environment with healthy hives while providing partnering companies a one-of-a-kind green marketing opportunity. Their innovative approach to sustainability allows companies to successfully sponsor green initiatives throughout landmark locations in their local communities. By purchasing a Bee Downtown beehive, companies can join the movement to save the honey bees and help ensure the future of agriculture and sustainability for generations to come.
NC State University
Recently, NC State’s Centennial Campus (just minutes from our office) became the new home of 150,000 honey bees! Bee Downtown installed and will manage the NC State apiary, which is sponsored by Bandwidth, a communications technology company based on Centennial Campus.
How you can help
The Pollinator Partnership has summarized some actions you can take to help pollinators thrive:
- Create pollinator-friendly habitat with native flowering plants that supply pollinators with nectar, pollen, and homes. For information on what to plant in your area, download a free eco regional guide online atwww.pollinator.org.
- Design your garden so that there is a continuous succession of plants flowering from spring through fall. Check for the species or cultivars best suited to your area and gradually replace lawn grass with flower beds.
- Select old-fashioned varieties of flowers whenever possible because breeding has caused some modern blooms to lose their fragrance and/or the nectar/pollen needed to attract and feed pollinators.
For more information about pollinators and opportunities to get involved check out the resources below:
Bumble Bee Watch – A collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees.
The Great Sunflower Project – People all over the country are collecting data on pollinators to take counts of the number and types of pollinators visiting plants.
Pollinator Conservation Resource Center – Find regional information about plant lists, habitat conservation guides, and more.