7 Things You Can Do to Help Protect Pollinators

The health of our ecosystems relies on pollinators. Bees, butterflies, birds, bats, beetles, moths, and wasps are important in pollinating plants. They also provide food, medicine, and other benefits. Without these insects, we couldn’t eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, or seeds. 

A recent study shows pollinators are at risk because they rely heavily on pollen and nectar collected by bumble bees, birds, and butterflies. This means that their survival depends on increasing numbers of such species. If the number drops, honeybee colonies face extinction.

If they ever vanish, we humans will be in much trouble. So, for our sake, we should take steps to save them. Dig into learning about the 7 things that can be done to save pollinators.

What are pollinators?

Pollinators are animals that transfer pollen from a flower’s male reproductive organ or stamen to the female reproductive organ or pistil.

Types: The most common pollinators are bees, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, beetles, and birds.

Importance: Pollination is essential for plant reproduction. Many plants could not produce seeds and fruits without pollinators, eventually leading to their extinction.

What role do pollinators play in the ecosystem?

Pollination is a vital part of our food chain. Without it, many plants would not be able to reproduce successfully so that we would have fewer species on earth.

Pollinators are essential for the growth and reproduction of plants as they take pollen from one plant and transfer it to another plant with no male organs.

This process also helps to fertilize the female parts of the plant. It is a mutually beneficial relationship between pollinators and plants.

How does an insect help to pollinate a plant?

Insects like bees, butterflies, wasps, and beetles carry pollen from one plant to another. They use this pollen to fertilize flowers. Bees usually collect pollen from different types of flowers and store it in special glands called ‘honey pots.’

When a bee finds a suitable place to deposit its pollen, it releases it inside the flower through tiny holes called ‘stigmas.’ After depositing the pollen, the bee removes any excess pollen with its mouthparts and stores it in the same sac. Once the bee returns to its nest, it regurgitates the stored pollen onto the stigma of the next flower it visits.

Why are pollinators important?

A healthy environment needs pollinators. These insects visit flowers daily and feed on the pollen and nectar the flowers produce. As a result, they fertilize the ovules of the plants.

Pollinating insects are also responsible for spreading pollen from one type of plant to another. Without pollinators, there would be fewer plants on Earth.

What factors are threatening pollinator populations?

1. Pesticide use: Pesticides are one of the leading causes of pollinator decline. Many pesticides are highly toxic to bees and other pollinators, and even low levels of exposure can be harmful.

2. Habitat loss: Another major cause of pollinator decline is habitat loss. As development and agriculture expand, natural habitats are destroyed or fragmented, leaving fewer places for pollinators to live and forage.

3. Climate change: Climate change is also a threat to pollinators. Rising temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns can disrupt the timing of flower blooming, which can throw off pollination.

Additionally, extreme weather events like heat waves and droughts can kill bees outright or stress them to the point where they’re more susceptible to disease.

4. Invasive species: Invasive species can also threaten pollinators by competing with them for food or space or by preying on them directly. For example, Asian carpenter ants (Camponotus, pennsylvanicus) have been shown to consume over 50% of all honeybee larvae.

5. Disease: Diseases such as the varroa mite (Varroa destructor), Nosema ceranae, and deformed wing virus (DWV) affect honeybees and bumblebees alike, causing them to lose their ability to fly and lay eggs. Infected workers often become aggressive, attacking other bees and sometimes even consuming them.

6. Colony collapse disorder (CCD): CCD is a phenomenon in which entire colonies of honeybees abruptly disappear without explanation. While CCD affects only managed honeybee hives, wild bees may also face similar threats. One hypothesis suggests that parasites called tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi) may play a role in CCD.

7. Human activities: Humans themselves can negatively impact pollinators through pesticide use, pollution, habitat destruction, or through direct contact. In addition to these threats, humans may unintentionally harm pollinators through selective breeding programs to produce better-looking fruit crops that don’t require insect pollination.

This practice has led to new varieties of fruits and vegetables lacking taste or nutritional value because they are bred to appeal to our senses rather than nourish the animals that help us grow them.

Here are 7 things you can do to protect pollinators

1. Add Wildlife-Friendly Plants to Your Yard

Flowers are important, but they aren’t the only thing you can do to help our pollinators. Many gardeners don’t realize how much we depend on insects—specifically birds—to keep our gardens humming. To attract pollinators and native species alike, make sure there are plenty of places for them to nest, eat, drink, and rest.

These include shallow pools, shrubs, wood piles, and nectar-rich plants, such as wildflowers, herbs, and fruit trees. Also, consider planting a few different types of flowering perennials throughout the landscape, including those that bloom early and late in the season. This ensures that pollinators have access to food year-round.

To encourage pollination, you might want to think about adding some structures where birds can build nests. Birdhouses, birdbaths, and birdfeeders are great options, though you’ll probably want to place them away from where people tend to walk or mow.

If you’re worried about attracting pests, try placing birdhouses where you won’t see them often; if you live near tall buildings, put them up high on poles. You can also plant deciduous trees, shrubs, and groundcovers around your property to offer cover for songbirds and other nesters.

Finally, suppose you’d like to go one step further. In that case, you could create a naturalistic habitat for mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.

Planting native vegetation, such as grasses, shrubs, and trees, helps ensure these creatures have a home nearby. You can also start a compost pile or worm bin, producing rich soil for your wildlife.

2. Pesticides should not be used

Help save pollinators by avoiding chemicals at home. While it might seem counterintuitive, many ways exist to combat pests without harming our environment. We do not recommend using toxic chemicals in your garden or lawn.

Instead, manage your yard or landscape naturally and organically. You can find plenty of information online about how to grow plants that attract beneficial insects, such as lady beetles, lacewings, spiders, and praying mantises. These creatures help keep your garden free of harmful insects.

There are many ways to avoid pesticide use, including planting flowers that naturally deter pests and encouraging beneficial predators to reside in your garden. Native species of predatory bugs, spiders, and birds often effectively control unwanted pests while providing food for helpful birds and butterflies.

You don’t have to wait for Mother Nature to provide beneficial insects; you can release them yourself. Ladybugs, lacewings, and praying mantises are common household insects that are natural predators.

They feed on many insects, including those that cause crop damage. You can help keep your backyard free of troublesome pests by releasing these beneficial insects into your garden.

3. Butterfly hosts should be planted

Butterflies depend on “host plants” to reproduce and thus survive – adult butterflies lay their eggs on those plants, and when their larvae emerge from eggs, they eat the plant – until they too can grow into beautiful butterflies.

However, caterpillars won’t eat any old plant. Each butterfly species has a specific host plant that its caterpillars will eat.

Some caterpillars are highly selective, eating only one variety of plants, and others are somewhat broader in their diet.

For example, monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) rely solely on milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), while some swallowtails prefer sunflowers (Helianthus annuus).

While each plant has wide varieties, monarchs will ONLY consume milkweed.

The same goes for monarch nectar feeding, where adults drink a special liquid called regurgitated nectar from caterpillars’ mouths.

4. Invest in organic products

Beyond your garden, go organic. In every way possible. Not just because it’s good for you but because it helps keep farmers in business. And supporting sustainable, pollinator-friendly farms keeps them in business — and the bees safe. Don’t forget to hit your local farmer’s market too.

Even if they aren’t “certified,” many small local farms are far more careful about pesticides. Buying organic goods lessens the need for conventional (toxic), chemical-based products. This is better for everyone, including your health and the environment.

5. Get Outside and Make a Difference

We can do many things to help our environment, including reducing our impact on it. Pollinators are one of those things. We can do several things to support pollinators besides growing flowers ourselves.

We can plant native plants, reduce pesticides, and even ask our employers to change their practices. Here are six easy steps anyone can take to help save pollinators.

1. Talk to your neighbors.

2. Be aware of what’s happening outside your home.

3. Consider making changes where you work.

4. Plant native plants.

5. Reduce pesticide use.

6. Change the time of day when your lawn is sprayed.

6. Become a beekeeper

We’ve been keeping bees since May 2017. We live on a small hobby farm in rural Pennsylvania, where few people are around. When you’re living on a farm, it’s easy to keep things quiet. Our neighbors don’t even know we have bees. Our family doesn’t even know we have honeybees.

Most of my friends don’t even know we keep bees. But once word got out about how much better our honey tasted than what we could buy at the store, we had no choice but to start sharing.

Our backyard is full of hives now. And while we still haven’t ventured into the wonderful world of honeybee keeping, we enjoy watching the little guys work hard every spring.

7. Plant natives instead of lawns

Lawns are great for homeowners, but they’re terrible for birds. A study published in Conservation Biology found that converting grassland into residential development led to large declines in bird populations across North America. It took nearly 20 years for some species to recover.

The biggest threat to birds isn’t just habitat loss—it’s our yards. Too much concrete and asphalt make it hard for birds to find safe resting spots and raise their chicks. And even though we might think adding trees and shrubs will help, research suggests otherwise.

Scientists at Cornell University and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center looked at how well different types of vegetation could serve as homes for birds. They found native plants fared best because they offered more food and bird protection.

If you’d like to make your backyard more attractive to birds, consider planting natives. These plants grow naturally where they live and aren’t affected by pests or diseases. Plus, they’ll attract pollinators and other beneficial creatures. You can buy native plants online or at garden centers.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. How Does Oral Allergy Syndrome Develop?

The most common causes of OAS symptoms are birch, alder, ragweed, mugwort, Timothy grass, and orchard grass pollen.

2. What Is OAS?

If you experience mouth or throat itching after eating certain fruits or vegetables, you may suffer from oral allergy syndrome (OAS).

3. How Do Humans Help In Pollination?

You could also plant small gardens with flowers or, like English farmers, plant wildflowers along field borders to attract pollinators. Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and birds may benefit from organic farming, which reduces pesticide use.

4. Why Do We Need Bees? 

Food production depends on the pollination of bees, one of the best pollinators on earth. Worldwide, insect pollination accounts for 1/3 of food production. 70% of the world’s food is produced by crops that are pollinated by bees


Pollinator is an important animal to our environment. So, protecting them is our duty. It’s not that hard to do. You need to be a little bit concerned about what is around you. Don’t just sit back and start doing 1 thing among those 7 and help pollinators a little.

About the Author

Virginia E. Hayes is a gardening enthusiast who loves to write about gardening tools, safety issues, and ways to keep gardens clean and safe. With her vast experience in gardening, she provides valuable insights and tips to help fellow gardening enthusiasts to enhance their gardening experience. Her passion for gardening and writing has made her a sought-after author in the gardening community.

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