Have you heard the buzz about pollinators?
Column: Natural Resource News: By Shannon Terry
Have you heard the buzz about pollinators? They’re in trouble, and because they help create a lot of or food items, that means we’re in in trouble, too.
Worldwide, about 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fiber, spices,, and medicines need to be pollinated by some type of animal including apples peaches, blueberries, potatoes, pumpkins, vanilla, coffee, chocolate… eeeek, yes, coffee and chocolate! Imagine a life without any of these foods. In the U.S., it is estimated that 30 percent of crops depend on pollinators.
Pollinators primarily belong to a group of insects much more diverse and interesting than just the common honey bee. In fact, the honeybee in not native to the U.S., only having been brought here to make honey for us. The pollinator group includes a diverse group of native species of bees, ranging from bumblebees to sweatbees, but we also know that many species of butterflies, bats, birds, flies, moths, and beetles participate in pollination. (If you missed the article about Minnesota’s bees in the last week’s Journal, check it out!)
The reason pollinators are in trouble is complex and not completely understood yet by scientists. Everyone agrees, however, that one important factor is the loss of critical habitat. What do we mean by habitat? All animals have the same basic needs: air, shelter, food and water. Habitat is the physical surroundings in which animals find those things. In Minnesota, clean air and water are generally available to our pollinators, so the parts that are are too often missing are shelter and food.
For full article, go to: Fergus Falls Journal