Reverse Pollinator Decline in Your Backyard


Craft Project Bee Shelter DIY

Photo by artyangel

“If bees disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” You may have heard this quote, often attributed (likely erroneously) to Einstein. And while the words are over dramatic and the message not exactly factual, it is true that pollinators are in big trouble and if their decline continues, so are we.

Pollinators in Peril

The U.S. Department of Agriculture tells us that without pollinators, we simply won’t eat. U.S. farmers rely on one pollinator species in particular, the honeybee Apis mellifera, to pollinate most of their crops. Honeybees produce an estimated $15 billion worth of food each year (a third of the food produced in the U.S.) and if their populations continue to dwindle, consumers will have to pick up the tab. Fresh fruit and vegetables could become luxuries only the wealthy can afford.

Thanks to pollinators, you can enjoy a wide range of products. The apple you’re munching on, the coffee you had for breakfast, the cotton you’re wearing. All brought to you by pollinators.

While bees are our most important pollinators, a myriad of other animals also pollinate: at least 100,000 invertebrates like beetles, wasps and butterflies, as well as over 1,000 birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. These animals are all part of the indispensable pollinator-plant ecosystem which, until now, most of us have taken for granted.

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