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Over a third of our food supply is dependent on these animals, primarily insects, which distribute pollen from one plant to another. In fact, pollinators are directly responsible for adding 24 billion dollars to the US economy every year(1). Pollinators are essential in preserving global food security, not only for humans but for the many native animals that depend on fruit and seed bearing plants for their survival. Native pollinators including bumble bees and ground nesting bees are affected by the same ills that befall honeybees, which are not native. While honey bees are important pollinators of commercial food crops, native bees are necessary for pollination of the native species with which they evolved. They are responsible for providing food for indigenous birds, mammals and other animals, so native pollinators must not be left out of the conversation.
Pollinator populations are in rapid decline and habitat loss is the key factor contributing to this alarming trend. In Nebraska 99% of our native tall grass ecosystem has been lost to farming, urbanization, and infrastructure. In fact, the US National Park Service concluded that the Tall Grass Prairie is one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems. Therefore, by simply planting native plants in your gardens and landscapes, you can be an important part of the fight to save your own food supply and that of the many creatures that depend on seed bearing plants and the habitat they provide.
How to Create Habitat for Pollinators
Use the search bar on the right to find pollinator plants and pollinator mixes to help get you started.
(1) White House Press Release Office of the Press Secretary, Fact Sheet: The Economic challenge Posed by Declining Pollinator Populations. June 20, 2014