If you haven’t heard by now, National Pollinator Week has us all buzzin’ — we’re so thankful for all the hard work our planet’s pollinators do!
I’ve been collecting some favorite fun facts about our pollinating buddies. See which ones you already knew:
- More than 200,000 animal species serve as pollinators. Most are insects — only about 1,000 are hummingbirds, bats, or other small mammals.
- Flowers that rely on daytime pollinators are often brightly colored. Flowers that bloom at night are often more pale in color and instead emit sweet perfumes or other strong odors to attract moths, bats, and other nocturnal pollinators.
- Bees come from wasps, evolutionally speaking. Actually, so do ants.
- The flowers of the Saguaro cactus are open both day and night so that they can be pollinated by bees, bats, and birds. Their most efficient pollinator? The Western White-Winged Dove!
- Pollen comes in many colors.
- Most bees like warm areas, but there are bees that live in the Arctic and way up high in the Andes and Himalayas.
- Migrating pollinators follow nectar corridors during their travel. Keep those flyways full of blooming flowers!
- Some bees vibrate their flight muscles in order to knock pollen onto the stigma. Bumblebees do this for tomatoes, blueberries, and cranberries.
- The number of pollinators in an area is a great indicator of the overall health of an ecosystem.
And perhaps most importantly,
- All the world’s chocolate depends on midges, tiny two-winged flies, that pollinate the cacao flowers. If you love chocolate, thank a fly!
Meredith O’Reilly gardens for wildlife in Austin, Texas, and writes about her garden adventures at Great Stems.
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