What are Pollinators and why do we need them? by Ed Powers
Pollinators at Home
Courtesy yard map.org
This blog is meant to introduce you to pollinators and pollination and their value to our economy. We as Americans have become more focused on their value for many reasons; one of the most important is the reduction in the numbers of pollinators. As an overview, pollination is an ecosystem process that has evolved over millions of years to benefit both flowering plants and pollinators. A pollinator is an animal that causes plants to make fruit or seeds. Pollinators visit flowers for many reasons, including feeding, pollen collection, and warmth. When pollinators visit flowers, pollen rubs or drops onto their bodies. The pollen is then transferred to another flower or a different part of the same flower as the pollinator moves from one location to the next. This pollen then fertilizes the plant. Only fertilized plants can make fruit and/or seeds, and without them, the plants cannot reproduce.
Pollinators are Not Just Birds and Bees
Value of pollinators is that they pollinate approximately 75 percent of the crop plants grown worldwide for food, fiber, beverages, condiments, spices, and medicines. It has been calculated that one out of every three to four mouthfuls of food we eat and beverages we drink is delivered to us by pollinators. As such, agricultural products that are produced with the help of pollinators make a significant contribution to the economy. For example, it has been estimated that insect-pollinated crops directly contributed $20 billion to the United States economy in the year 2000. If this calculation were to include indirect products, such as milk and beef from cattle fed on alfalfa, the value of pollinators to agricultural production would be raised to $40 billion in the United States alone.
Bee gathering food
Courtsey Honey Love. org
Colorado State University fact sheets
Wildlife Habitat Management Institute/ Native Pollinators
Colorado Department of Agriculture
Cornell Chronicle/Cornell EDU/ Insect Pollinators contribute $29 billion to US farm Income