In Your Backyard: Pollinator Week

A bumblebee pollinates a flower in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

Article by Bryn Scriver

June 22-28 is National Pollinator Week a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect them.

What is pollination? Pollination is a vital stage in the life cycle of all flowering plants. When pollen is moved within a flower or carried from one flower to another of the same species it leads to fertilization.

  • About 75% of all flowering plant species need the help of animals to move their heavy pollen grains from plant to plant for fertilization.
  • About 1,000 of all pollinators are vertebrates such as birds, bats, and small mammals.
  • Most pollinators (about 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees.

Why are pollinators important? Pollinators are often keystone species, meaning that they are critical to an ecosystem. The work of pollinators ensures full harvests of crops and contributes to healthy plants everywhere.

  • An estimated 1/3 of all foods and beverages is delivered by pollinators.
  • In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.

The 3rd week in June is Pollinator Week, but you can help pollinators every day of the year.

  • Reduce your impact. Grow or purchase organic pesticide-free food and products. Support efforts to increase green space and minimize urbanization. Pollution and climate change affect pollinators, too.
  • Plant for pollinators. Create a pollinator-friendly yard (or patio!) with flowering plants that supply pollinators with nectar, pollen, and homes.
  • Tell a friend. Educate your neighbors, schools, and community groups about the importance of pollinators. Instill respect for nature in children.