Our planet is home to over 200,000 species of pollinating creatures- from the tiniest flies and beetles to Madagascar’s black and white lemur, pollinators are responsible for the growth of rainforests, seemingly endless flower-filled fields, and backyard gardens alike. In fact, in a world without pollinators, human beings would cease to exist.
How could this be? Why does life on Earth depend so heavily on these little critters?
In this blog, Covenant Wildlife Removal digs deep into the importance of pollinating animals and insects. Read on to discover what role some of the most notable pollinators play and how life would not be the same without them.
There are thousands of bee species on our planet. And each one has a slightly different approach to pollinating. In the following paragraphs, we go over the role of honey bees, bumblebees, and solitary bees.
Honey bees tend to get a lot more buzz than their fellow pollinators. But not for no reason. They play a massive role in growing food across the globe. Honey bees pollinate over 100 different crops in North America alone.
And in many ways, the honey bee is more of a domesticated animal than a wild creature. Years ago, humans strategically introduced honey bees to the United States to produce sweet honey. Today, they are just as familiar as any other native bee, if not more. In fact, honey bees have become the face of pollinating insects.
The honey bee pollinates the following major crops:
Seeing one of these fuzzy flying insects may make you think you’ve stepped into a children’s book. Bumblebees have iconic yellow and black stripes. Their bodies are covered in lots of little hairs giving them a fuzzy and adorable appearance.
And their fuzzy bodies play a big part in pollinating certain flowers and fruits. When a bumblebee lands on a flower, it vibrates to loosen the pollen. Their hairs collect the pollen, spreading it to each flower they visit.
Bumblebees play a critical role in pollinating specific plants, including some crops. What makes the bumblebee a vital pollinator is its ability to fly higher than other insects to reach some of the rarest flowers and fruits. But, in general, this bee helps with pollinating the following:
- Various berries
“Solitary bees” describes the group of many bee species that spend most of their lives on their own rather than working in a colony structure. Each of the solitary bees handles their pollinating a little differently. And some even favor specific flowers, making them the key to the survival of certain wild plants.
A bee will visit hundreds of flowers in a single trip, sipping the nectar and spreading pollen. In fact, our native solitary bees are more efficient at pollinating than honey bees in many ways. Without these tiny hard workers, we’d lose an astounding number of the colorful wildflowers in our world.
There are over 85,000 fly species, many of which are responsible for pollinating specific plants. More often than not, people regard flies as filthy, disease-carrying pests. And, at times, they absolutely are a nuisance, especially when they make their way into our homes.
However, several species offer more benefits than not. And like the role of solitary bees, flies keep the natural world colorful and appropriately decorated with some of the most stunning flowers.
Despite their reputation of being aggressive stingers, wasps are another one of the many essential pollinating insects. Although they are typically absent of hair to collect the pollen, wasps still spread bits of pollen from one flower to another.
Some of the unique plants the wasp pollinates are:
Moths and Butterflies
Both moths and butterflies aren’t particularly built for pollinating. However, they still help spread pollen from one flower to flower as they consume nectar. Butterflies are most attracted to brightly colored flowers with plenty of space to land comfortably.
On the other hand, moths typically visit flowers that bloom in the late afternoon or nighttime. This makes their role vital to specific plants that would otherwise not be pollinated. For example, the Yucca moth is the only insect that will pollinate the Yucca plant.
Beetles have an ancient relationship with the flowers they pollinate. In fact, alongside flies, they were one of the first pollinators, with behavior dating back to prehistoric times.
Today, beetles play a smaller role than they did before. But, they remain closely tied to some plants that have been around as long as they have, including the following:
Birds and Bats
It may surprise you that birds and bats are also responsible for pollinating our natural world. Pollinating bats shine their brightest in tropical or desert climates. Within these environments, bats seek out flowers with characteristics including:
- Blooming in the late afternoon or evening
- Pale coloration
- Strong in aroma
In contrast, certain birds, like hummingbirds, prefer flowers that bloom during the day, have a solid structure to land on, and usually have a tube-like, funnel, or cupped shape. Furthermore, they are attracted to brightly colored flowers, unlike bats that gravitate to pale and fragrant flowers.
Both birds and bats have unique relationships with certain plants. And without their presence, these plants would disappear.
Lizards, Lemurs, Rodents, and More . . .
When we think of pollinators, what often comes to mind is a small flying insect like a bee or butterfly. However, pollinating creatures come in all shapes and sizes.
For instance, the largest of all pollinators is the black and white ruffed lemur in Madagascar. They are responsible for pollinating the traveler’s palm, which no other animal or insect can pollinate.
Another unexpected pollinator is lizards. Some species consume the nectar from certain flowers, where pollen falls onto their bodies and into the grooves and textures in their skin.
Additionally, marsupial mammals like the sugar glider and some possums spread pollen throughout their foraging for nutrients.
And the list doesn’t stop there. There are so many essential pollinators that help our world go round.
Why We Need Pollinating Insects and Animals
In a world without pollinating critters, flower-filled grasslands lose their bright colors, tropical forests look a lot less “tropical,” and man-made gardens would be almost impossible to grow. In fact, many of the delicious cultivated fruits, grains, and vegetables we enjoy every day would no longer exist.
But that’s only the beginning of the domino effect of losing our precious pollinators. If plants cannot grow, many wildlife species will be without food or shelter. And without these vital elements of survival, we start to see the animals disappear. And all too quickly, the animals that rely on or consume those creatures would disappear, too. The dominos keep falling, and the final link is us. That’s right- Humans.
Pollinators are Disappearing
Unfortunately, many of the world’s pollinating insects are in decline. So, this domino effect is already in action. This means we need to act quickly to avoid the gradual loss of vital creatures and plants in our world.
How You Can Help
Plant a Garden for Our Pollinators:
One of the most helpful things you can do to help keep our pollinators alive is to give them a place where they can thrive. And planting a pollinator-friendly garden is an excellent way of doing so. Depending on what pollinators you want to attract, you’ll need the right flowers and plants. Plus, our pollinators get thirsty, too. So, be sure to have a shallow dish of water with a place to land for them to relax and refresh.
People will use insecticides to get rid of unwanted pests lurking in their yards. And unfortunately, pollinating insects can be affected by these harsh chemicals. So, do your part and commit to a chemical-free yard or garden. In fact, many natural pest control methods easily replace the use of chemicals. For instance, people will attract ladybugs to their garden if they have an issue with pests consuming their plants.
Shop with a purpose when selecting your produce. Look for locally grown products at your grocery store or shop at farmers’ markets. Local farmers and organic growers typically do not use insecticides and rely greatly on our pollinators. Supporting these farmers helps to support pollinating insects and creatures, too.
Covenant Wildlife Responsibly Removes Pollinating Critters
The pollinating creatures of our planet are crucial to not only the survival of the lush landscapes we all enjoy. Their role plays a part in the survival of animals of all kinds, including the human race.
Nevertheless, we know even our pollinators can become a nuisance at times.
Maybe you’ve noticed an infestation of pesky beetles in your home. Or perhaps a honey bee colony has chosen the side of your house as the perfect location to nest. Whatever it may be, you can trust Covenant Wildlife to remove the pest safely and in the most responsible way possible.
At Covenant Wildlife, we take the removal of these pollinating species very seriously and do everything we can to preserve the insects or critters while removing them from your home.
Whether bees, birds, or beetles have made their way into your house, reach out to Covenant Wildlife Removal today.