Pollinators, the 4 biggest threats they face, and why you should care

By Jane Rising

Next to droughtAnd illness. And supply chain disruptions, another problem that can cause Lack of food It is a lack of pollinators. 87% of plants require pollination to reproduce. One third of food crops require pollination. In the United States, beekeepers have lost 30-42% of their colonies each year since 2006.

While it is true that many plants, such as squash, can be pollinated by hand, have you ever worked an entire agricultural field this way? And what about crops with small flowers, such as cucumbers? The one who can pollinate a cucumber by hand is a better gardener than me! Insects do the job best. In this article we will look at Pollinators and the problems they are currently facing.

Let’s talk about birds and bees!

Seriously, they both pollinate plants. Bees are the most well-known pollinator, but they are far from the only ones. Birds, wasps, butterflies and beetles also pollinate different plants. Moreover, honeybees are not the only species of interest. There are 20,000 species of bees worldwide and 500 species in Wisconsin. The most common pollinators here are honeybees, bumblebees, mason bees, leaf cutters, sweat bees, miners, and small carpenters.

I see bumblebees and mason bees in my yard mainly. Bees collect pollen to feed their hive. They buy groceries, basically, and they Visit up to 1000 flowers per trip. Butterflies, moths, and other insects do the same thing: feed their young. As they move from flower to flower, pollinators spread pollen, allowing plants to reproduce. Many fruits contain seeds of course. Therefore, everyone benefits from one of nature’s wonderful scales.

What are the nesting habits of bees?

Some bees are more social than others. Honeybees, for example, prefer hives, while bumblebees are more solitary. Exact nesting habits depend on the species. However, bees generally prefer to reuse spaces such as squirrel or rabbit burrows, pre-existing holes in wood or hollow stems, compost piles, and earth. It is not uncommon to find squash bees sleeping in enclosed squash blossoms during the day.

Artificial bee houses are becoming more and more popular, and you can make them easily. Check this site Building principles and plans.

Native plants versus non-native plants and why they are important.

The Scientific definition of the original plant As follows. Relevant factory:

  1. naturally occurring
  2. In their ecoregion and habitat where
  3. through evolutionary time
  4. They have adapted to physical conditions and evolved with other species in the system.

We cannot say that a plant is original without specifying its place of origin. Adaptation to the local ecosystem is of great importance. Therefore, non-native plants are not adapted to the respective ecosystem. This is important because pollinators are part of the ecosystem and therefore adapt to the plants in it. Furthermore, not all bees will frequent all plants within an ecosystem. Squash bees, for example, only frequent squash flowers and related plants.

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By planting species that are native to your area, you support pollinators that have adapted to those species. When thinking of pollinators other than bees, you’ll want to think of both the larval and host stages of the organism. In the case of butterflies, both the caterpillar and the butterfly will need food.

Resources to help you decide which types of pollinators and plants they like in your area include the County Extension Office and various beekeeping associations.

Problem #1: Varroa mites (Varroa destroyor and V. jacobsoni)

These tiny mites are parasites that feed on honeybees. Its entire life cycle takes place inside the honey bee hive. Adult females lay eggs in bee brood hives. Females feed on adult honey bees, while males parasitize both larvae and pupae. The result is a noticeably weak bee. Females are also excellent virus vectors, spreading additional diseases throughout the cell. The slow initial rate of population growth makes it difficult to detect infection early. [source]

There are several ways to control them, from purchasing mite-resistant honey bees to using smaller hives combs to breaking brood and trapping. Chemical controls include formic, oxalic, thymol, beta-hops and amitraz acids. [source]

Problem #2: Habitat loss/fragmentation

home of pollinators Fragmented and lost in agriculture, resource extraction, and human settlement. Human activities have also led to habitat degradation. Although a changing landscape can provide flowers for nourishment, landscaping destroys nesting and wintering sites. Many bees and butterflies are habitat specific, which means they don’t just capture and move elsewhere. Destruction of their native habitat often means the destruction of pollinators in that area. Bees that nest on the ground need loose soil in which they can dig. Trampling this soil removes nesting areas and may destroy the nest.

Habitat Fragmentation It causes loss of biodiversity. This also means that pollinators have to fly farther to get pollen. Some species can do this. However, weak flyer species often become extinct. Habitat must be large enough to support diversity. Edge effects, those spots around the edges where habitats meet, are also important.

Problem #3: Colony Collapse Disorder

Colony collapse It occurs when all worker bees leave the hive, leaving behind the queen and immature larvae. Since the colony cannot survive without its workers, the cell will eventually die. Causes include disease, insecticide poisoning, varroa mites, habitat alteration, inadequate/poor nutrition, and many different stressors. neonicotinoids, Especially imidacloprid, this problem has been linked.

Problem #4: Pesticides

Pesticides are a major problem for bees and other pollinators. Pesticides are not selective about the insects they kill, and overuse destroys natural soil fauna. Animals in the soil include earthworms and beetles as well as beneficial microbes, including Rhizobium and Mycorrhizae. It is best to build soil- and plant-resistant varieties if possible. If you must use insecticides, use them Just what is needed In order to solve this problem. It is also helpful to apply the time when pollinators are not out.

And above all, avoid neonicotinoids! These pesticides are:

  • acetamiprid
  • Clothianidine
  • dinotefuran
  • imidacloprid
  • nitenpiram
  • thiacloprid
  • thiamethoxam

A number of them were withdrawn from the regular market in 2019, and the rest are ready for re-registration in 2022. However, plants and seeds treated with these pesticides can still be purchased. Home Depot He is one of the few retailers who ask to label plants treated in this way. So read the label carefully before buying! Lowe’s vowed to stop using it Exactly from these, as in many other stores.

For more information about this class of pesticides, go Here And Here.

How can we help as gardeners?

We can help pollinators in many ways. By providing suitable habitats and native species, we support the life cycle of our pollinators. Reducing the use of pesticides removes a highly toxic substance from the environment, and the timing of use helps. Spraying after sunset when the bees are not outside collecting pollen is better than spraying while outside!

Establishing a bee house can help, and postponing the first spring mowing is beneficial, too. Mowing can destroy the nest. It also removes dandelions and other early-emerging flowers, often the first food for pollinators to come out of hibernation. It is a matter of enlightened self-interest. By supporting our pollinators, we support our gardens and help stabilize our food supply.

What can you do in your area to support pollinators?

Did you do something different in your garden to help? Do you have other helpful suggestions or facts you’d like to share? Let’s talk about birds and bees in the comments section!

Source: Organic Prepper

Jayne Rising is a gardener and book educator with a BA from the University of Wisconsin and a Master Gardener. She has been growing food in her small urban area since 2010 and has been teaching others how to do so since 2015. She is involved in a number of local urban farming initiatives, working to bring a sustainable, healthy diet back into the mainstream.

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