Introduction to Pollinator Conservation

Scientists have determined that two-thirds of all crop plant species and about one-third of all calories consumed by people depend on pollinators. Most crop pollination is performed by wild pollinators, not domesticated honeybees. Some crop plants can only be pollinated by wild pollinators. For example, honeybees cannot effectively pollinate blueberries; only wild bees can. Other plants can be pollinated by honeybees, but wild bees do a much better job. When wild blue orchard bees pollinated cherry trees, crop yields were double when honey bees were used. If honeybees get sick and there are no wild bees present, farmers and orchard growers might not produce any crop at all. Wild plants that grow on remnant prairies or along crop field margins are important because they provide pollinating insects with food when crop plants are not in flower.

Habitat loss and fragmentation, habitat degradation, pesticide poisoning, the spread of diseases and parasites, and climate change are all affecting pollinator populations negatively.
The Manitoba Museum
Angela Fey, Diana Bizecki Robson

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