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Pollinators

National Pollinator Week is June 16 - 22

How NRCS is helping pollinators How farmers can help pollinators. Be a friend to pollinators.
How gardeners can help pollinators. More information on pollinators.
View the Pollinator E-Book Pollinator publications Honey Bees Help Farmers' Vegetable Production
A close-up photo of a butterfly on a blossom

Pollinator-Friendly Plants
for the Northeast United States

A close-up photo of a hummingbird reaching into a flower to collect nectar
A hummingbird reaches deep into a flower
to collect its nectar
A close-up photo of a bee vibrating its body to knock pollen off of a blossom
Some bees vibrate their flight muscles in order
to knock pollen onto a flower's stigma
A close-up photo of a bat approaching a cactus blossom
Nocturnal pollinators, such as bats, seek out
flowers with scents

The images above provide links to various resources of information about Pollinators.

Insects and other animal pollinators are vital to the production of healthy crops for food, fibers, edible oils, medicines, and other products. The commodities produced with the help of pollinators generate significant income for producers and those who benefit from a productive agricultural community. Pollinators are also essential components of the habitats and ecosystems that many wild animals rely on for food and shelter.

There is evidence that populations of native and managed pollinators are in decline, and the loss of benefits derived from them is being felt by the agricultural community. Human activity such as urbanization can lead to habitat fragmentation or destruction. Changes in agricultural practices and the use of broad-spectrum pesticides can disrupt or destroy long-established pollinator habitats. Other factors leading to pollinator decline include disease, and the spread of invasive plant species.

Whether you are a farmer or a homeowner, there are many ways you can learn about pollinators and help them to prosper by enhancing native pollinator habitats and protecting against pollinator declines.

Just type pollinators into any internet search engine, and you will be presented with pages and pages of links to universities, organizations, agencies, and individuals who share the desire to ensure that pollinators have what they need to do their work. Several links can be found at the bottom of this page.

Did You Know?

  • Pollinators support biodiversity: There is a correlation between plant diversity and pollinator diversity.
  • The pollinator population of an area is a great indicator of the overall health of an ecosystem.
  • Some crops, including blueberries and cherries, are 90 percent dependent on honey bee pollination.
  • Honey bees visit five million flowers to make one pint of honey.
  • 150 pounds of honey equals 13 round-trips to the moon.
  • 90 percent of the nation's apple crop is pollinated by bees.
  • Bees tend to prefer flowers that they can walk on to sip nectar.
  • There are 4000 bee species in the U.S. There are 450 species New York State.
  • Butterflies and moths need a place to land on the flowers that they visit, so they prefer broad, flat-faced flowers.
  • Increased yields and higher quality crops are benefits that growers and consumers realize from a healthy beekeeping industry.
  • Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend.
  • It’s estimated that there are about 2.4 million bee colonies in the U.S. today, two-thirds of which travel the country each year pollinating crops and producing honey and beeswax.
  • Flowers bloom during the day and night, depending on which pollinator they need to attract. Daytime pollinators are often brightly colored, while those that appear at night are often pale, and may produce sweet scents or odors to attract nocturnal pollinators such as moths and bats.

Tips for Establishing a Healthy Pollinator Habitat

  • Start right. Flowering plants can be started from seed; shrubs are better established by transplanting seedlings.
  • Consider the soil characteristics, site drainage, sunlight, and other factors when selecting plants.
  • Provide a variety of flower colors and shapes to attract different pollinators.
  • Plant in clumps, rather than single plants, to better attract pollinators.
  • Choose plants that flower at different times of the year to provide nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing season.
  • Whenever possible, choose native plants. These plants will be better adapted to your soil type, climate, precipitation, and local pollinators.
  • Avoid the use of pesticides. Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce damage to your plants and to protect pollinators by using less chemicals.
  • Visit a plant nursery to ask about pollinator plants suited for your site conditions.
  • Pollinators, need water too. You can provide water for pollinators with a shallow dish, bowl, or birdbath with half-submerged stones for perches.

Just type pollinators into any internet search engine, and you will be presented with pages and pages of links to universities, organizations, agencies, and individuals who share the desire to ensure that pollinators have what they need to do their work. Several links can be found at the bottom of this page.

Activity Job Sheets for Plant and Animal Enhancements are available on our national NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program Web site.

Pollinator Video

Web image: A pair of worker bees in a hive. Click image to view videoUSDA Works To Increase Pollinator Population

This YouTube video features an interview about pollinators with Eric Mader, Assistant Pollinator Program Director for Xerces Society. Eric talks about the importance of invertebrate habitat and management. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service works with groups like Xerces when developing best farm practices eligible for funding under Federal conservation programs like the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program.

 

Information Resources

The links provided here are excellent starting points for those interested in learning more about pollinators.

Web link image: Pollinator Parenership

 

 

Celebrating Wildflowers - U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
Farming for Pollinators - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Fish and Wildlife Habitat Management Leaflets - NRCS Agricultural Wildlife Conservation Center
Insect Pollination - The Bizarre Biology of Bugs! - Cornell University
North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC)
Pollinators - NRCS Documents for Pollinator Conservation and Enhancement
Pollinators - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
Plants for Pollinators - NRCS Plant Materials Program
Pollinator Friendly Planting Guides - Pollinator Partnership
The Buzz on Native Pollinators - National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (Xerces.org)