Sustainability > Support Pollinators
Bumble Bee on Aromatic Aster. Photo © John Whiteman
Pollinator House. Photo © John Whiteman
The Importance of Pollinators
Pollinators affect 35 percent of the world’s crop production, increasing outputs of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide, as well as many plant-derived medicines. At least one-third of the world’s agricultural crops depend upon pollination provided by insects and other animals.
Creating a garden that supports pollinators helps to combat the negative effects of intense agricultural practices, pesticides and herbicides, disease and climate change.
Go here for information on how to build a pollinator garden.
Types of Pollinators and What They Need
Wild bees are our primary pollinators but there are several others. Butterflies, moths, birds, beetles, bats, ants, flies and mosquitoes all feed on a flower’s nectar. By visiting multiple flowers to collect the nectar, pollen is rubbed off onto the animal which is then deposited on the next flower, completing pollination.
Like all animals, pollinators require four basic things to survive and flourish: food, water, shelter and a safe and nurturing environment. Providing these necessities will create a pollinator friendly garden.
Native plants evolved with the native wildlife in our area. They not only supply food, they also provide shelter. For more information on pollinator friendly plants for our area, go to:
Pollinator Friendly Native Plants, Xerces Society
Grow Native, Missouri Prairie Foundation
Missouri Prairies, Missouri Dept. of Conservation
Native Plants, Missouri Botanical Gardens
Missouri Native Plants, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Native Plant Database, Audubon Society
A water source is essential for pollinators. A bird bath, pond or a shallow dish with stones will allow pollinators to drink. Change the water in bird baths and dishes daily to prevent mosquitoes.
Native plants, decaying wood, areas of fallen leaves and dead plants, bare patches of sandy soil and bee houses provide cover from the elements and predators and offer places where they can lay their eggs and their young can grow. Go here for learn how to build and maintain a bee house.
Safe and Nurturing Environment
Avoid pesticides and herbicides. Pesticides will kill pollinators and herbicides will kill the native plants they need for food and shelter.