What are pollinators and why do we need them?

Most plants depend upon pollinators to pollinate them ­ to transfer pollen from the male stamens to the female pistil for fertilization and seed production. Some plants are pollinated by the wind and the rain but our fruit producing plants and most vegetables need pollinators to sustain life. Several kinds of insects, including Butterflies, moths, honey bees, bumble bees and carpenter bees, are pollinators. There are others, but these are the main ones. Here’s how it works. When Butterflies extract nectar from flowers, they accidentally collect pollen on their bodies. As they sip their way from plant to plant, they brush this pollen onto the pistils. Bees purposefully collect pollen to take it to their hives to feed their hive mates. Nonetheless, in the process of collecting the pollen they also leave some behind on the pistils. Without pollinators the trees and berries would not produce fruit. Many plants which do not produce fruit, but are still food for us humans, could not reproduce either.

How can we make pollinators welcome?

We can welcome pollinators by planting plants, whose flowers attract pollinators. There are certain plants which are much more attractive to pollinators than others.

Pollinator Friendly Plants Some easy to grow plants that produce flowers, very appealing to pollinators are:

  • Lavender ­ all varieties
  • Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
  • Nepeta (common name is Catmints) ­ all varieties
  • Echinacea ­ all varieties

Here is a brief video interview I did on this subject as one of the Oregon grantees for the Pollinator Project:

vimeo.com/67245703

We can also welcome pollinators by not using weed sprays and insecticides which are deadly to them. You may have heard about a recent massive bee kill-off in a shopping center parking lot. Here’s an article on that tragedy:

http://portlandtribune.com/ht/118-hillsboro-tribune-opinion/157702-who-will-speak-for-dead-bees

Want to Know More?

Consider becoming a member of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Faith Task Force. There is a national NAPPC conference in October which can be a place for inspiration and strategy.

http://pollinator.org/nappc/conference.htm

You can learn more at the NAPPC Faith Task Force Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/NAPPC-Faith-Task-Force/461306120624923?fref=ts

Another organization involved with preserving our pollinators is the Xerces Society:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Xerces-Society/193182577358618