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The Importance of Pollinator Species

Story and Art by Jessica Dean

   Tis the season for flowers and pollinators. Did you know

that 70% of flowering plants in the world rely on pollinators

for seed/fruit production? Here in our area of Colorado, some

of the pollinators you may have encountered in your own

garden or along the trails are typically hummingbirds, a v

ariety of bees, butterflies, moths, bats, and flies. Along with

ensuring the world’s food source for future generations, bees

and other various “at-risk” pollinators are a hot topic when it

comes to our planet’s precious ecosystem.

   We consider pollinators our hardest working round-clock

volunteers during the bloom season and bees are top on the

list with winning the award. On the farm, besides relying on

the wind for pollination, we absolutely need all these species

to complete a very tedious task. Before our veggies are ready to eat, they share food, water, and shelter with our little friends, completing their life cycle through fruiting and seed production. In return, the pollinators recover the basics to survive. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

   In the bee world, there are about 20,000 different species. Our farm veggies in Chaffee County usually interact with just a few of these varieties (honey, solitary, bumble). Although our farm’s corn mainly relies on wind for pollination, honeybees are still found here gathering pollen for their hive to feed the babies. The Brassica’s (cabbage, broccoli) and Cucurbita’s (summer/winter squash) we grow are mainly interacting with honey and solitary bees to share resources with the flowering plants.

   These important pollinator species are sadly at risk to disease due to environmental factors. Ecologists encourage us to plant native species wherever they can. Creating a pollinator habitat in your own backyard can help sustain these very delicate species. With all this unseen busy work, let’s take a moment to honor our seasonal volunteers and plant a garden for them.

We at CFTT want to support our planet’s ecosystem in as much as a possible. For more information on creating a pollinator habitat, check out this awesome how-to guide at Colorado State University Extension.
 

Fun bee facts:

Each bee in a hive has one assigned task during its lifetime.

Old bees usually don’t return to the hive in the evenings. Instead, they spend the night on the neighboring flowers and usually never die in the hive.

Bees are cold-blooded like all insects but together as a hive, they are considered a “warm mega-organism”.

bee smaller.jpg
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