National Pollinator Month
In this week’s article I would like to discuss National Pollinator Month. June is used to educate the public on the importance of pollinators and how we can help them. In 2007 the celebration of Pollinator Week started, and this year Pollinator Week will take place from June 22-28.
There are animals that help pollinate over 75% of flowering plants, including 75% of our crops. Common pollinators are hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies, among many other animals. Some animals intentionally collect pollen, such as bees, but others move pollen incidentally because the pollen sticks on their body while collecting nectar. Pollinators are important because they help carry pollen between plants, as they collect nectar, which results in fertilization. Examples of plants that rely on these animals include berries, seeds, many fruits, vegetables, nuts, blueberries, almonds, squash, chocolate, apples, and coffee.
Sadly, there is growing evidence that there is a decline in the number of pollinators. Most of the pollinator populations decline is attributed to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats, the misuse of chemicals, and disease. Without the assistance of the pollinators, many plants are unable to reproduce, which threatens the food source of many other wildlife. For example, honey bees pollinate approximately $10 billion worth of crops in the United States each year. Furthermore, only 15% of the world’s food supply is pollinated by domestic bees, while approximately 80% are pollinated by wild bees and other wildlife. In addition to the food that we eat, pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support other wildlife.
In Texas, more than 94% of Texas lands are privately owned, which requires engagement and involvement by private landowners to ensure effective pollinator conservation. Some ways to help encourage pollinator diversity and abundance at home is by planting a pollinator garden, providing nesting sites, and by limiting or avoiding the use of pesticides. Another easy way to help pollinators is to help spread the word about the importance of pollinators.
For more information please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You may also visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife. Finally, to learn more about pollinators and for other ways to get involved, please visit the Pollinator Partnership.
If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. My offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).
– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 512-463-0672.