Pollination Nation: Bees might be the stars, but other creatures help pollinate, too!
When most people think of pollination, the first creature that comes to mind is the humble bee — the most popular pollinators.
And bees are really the stars of the show when it comes to pollination, for sure.
But there are other creatures that help with pollination, as well. And we need all the pollinators we can get!
So, let’s start with the basics. What is pollination?
Pollination is the process of moving a pollen grain from the anther (the male part) of a plant to the stigma (the female part of the plant). This kicks off a whole process of fertilization, leading to seeds, flowers and fruits. Bees carry the heavy lifting role, but some plants can – and do – self-pollinate (with a little help from wind and water).
Who are the pollinators?
Bees, obviously, are pollinators, but birds, butterflies, beetles, bats and other small mammals (like mice) can also carry pollen from one plant to another – giving life to the food we eat and the flowers we enjoy.
These creatures carry the pollen from plant to plant accidentally, when it catches on their fur, wings, or bodies.
In going about their day, these pollinators help provide fruit, vegetables and nuts – the food we eat, the oils we use and the fibers and raw materials we use for clothing, building and more.
The process of pollination is not obvious – in fact, it’s mostly invisible and unseen. However, it is vital to our ecosystem. More than 70 percent of flowering plants need pollinators.
And there is evidence that pollination is in trouble. Studies show that the populations of pollinators are declining – due to things like chemical use, habitation destruction, climate patterns and more. But there are things you can do to help! Cutting pesticide use, planting more native plants, supporting local bee keepers and more are all ways to be a part of the solution.
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