We’re all familiar with the beleaguered honey bees and beautiful butterflies that pollinate our crops and wildflowers. But pollinating animal species comprise a diversity of wild creatures, from birds and bats to moths, beetles, flies and even the odd land mammal or reptile. To celebrate National Pollinator Week, June 16-23, we’re sharing below photographs of seven such “surprising” pollinators.
“There has been little effort to document the long-term status of pollinator populations,” May Berenbaum, chairman of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in an article, “The Buzz on Native Pollinators,” published in National Wildlife. But in a 2006 National Academy of Sciences report, a scientific committee chaired by Berenbaum found that in cases where data do exist, pollinator population trends are “demonstrably downward.”
Such cases include European honey bees, lesser long-nosed and Mexican long-tongued bats and, most dramatically, many species of bumble bee. Culprits responsible for pollinator decline range from habitat loss and fragmentation to introduced diseases, pesticides and climate change.
You can help bumble bees, butterflies and other at-risk pollinators by cultivating native plants, avoiding pesticides and becoming a wildlife gardener with the National Wildlife Federation. It’s free and you’ll get great wildlife gardening tips and learn how to certify your yard as an official habitat.