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Jun. 25, 2010

Why is June 21-27 Pollinator Week?

by Carl Flatow

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Earlier this month I expressed my appreciation for the most obvious of my pollinator partners. It’s easy to see the bumbles bees working in my garden and to think of bees when I think of pollinators. Here are some interesting facts provided by the Pollinator Partnership.

…more than 100,000 invertebrate species, including bees, moths, butterflies, beetles, and flies, serve as pollinators — as well as 1,035 species of vertebrates, including birds, mammals, and reptiles.

…long-term population trends for some North American pollinators are “demonstrably downward,” says a report from the National Research Council…. Observable decreases in wild populations of bees, butterflies, and moths are of great concern to producers of fruits, vegetables, nuts, alfalfa, and flowers…. More important is the disturbing notion of an imbalance in the natural ecosystem and biodiversity on which all food production depends.

Habitat loss for pollinators by human activity poses an immediate and frequently irreversible threat.

Other factors responsible for population decreases include invasive plant species, broad-spectrum pesticide use, disease, and weather.

You can help. One way is to start here.

About Carl Flatow

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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