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Pollinators & Their Importance

In general, pollinators play a large role in the reproduction of plants and help produce popular food products we use in our everyday life. Some common pollinators are bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and wasps. (Reference 1)


Bees


About:

There are more than 20,000 species of bees in the world, many of which are the

typical yellow and black, however, there are many others that are green, blue, red, or black. Some bees even have a metallic look to their colour! Bees come in various sizes, with the smallest being less than 2mm long. (Reference 2)



How They Pollinate:

  • When a bee lands on a flower, the hairs on its body help collect the pollen. Bees will also use their legs to help gather pollen and store it in the pockets of their legs. Oftentimes a bee will focus on one type of flower which aids in the reproduction of that flower species (Reference 3)

Importance:

  • Aside from helping to reproduce flowers and flowering plants (fruits and vegetables), bees are essential in the production of honey, beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, and much more. (Reference 3 and 4)


Moths


About:

  • Moths are mainly nocturnal and much like butterflies, they spend their time around flowers. There are approximately 160,000 species of moths in the world. They come in various colours, shapes, and sizes. Some moths are coloured in a way to disguise themselves from predators. (Reference 5 and 6)


How They Pollinate:

  • While moths are not as efficient at pollination as smaller insects, moths still play a role in pollination. For moths, pollination happens at night. For the most part, moths collect pollen in their mouths, but because moths do not actually land on the plant they are collecting pollen from, they don’t transfer as much pollen to the next plant. (Reference 1, 7, and 8)

Importance:

  • Moths are important to the pollination of flowers and flowering plants regardless of how their size and structure may restrict them. (Reference 7)


Hummingbirds


About:

  • Hummingbirds are small birds with long and narrow bills. Usually, males but sometimes females, have stiff colourful feathers that are reflective located on their throats and upper chests. There are about 340 species of Hummingbirds all of which range from 1.9 to 20 grams in size. They live a very fast life, with a heart rate that can reach up to 1,200 beats per minute, and a wing beat of approximately 70 per second. (Reference 9)

How They Pollinate:

  • Hummingbirds gather nectar from tubular flowers using their beaks and tongues. The pollen from flowers gets caught in their beak and feathers which helps them spread the pollen to other flowers. (Reference 10)

Importance:

  • Like all pollinators, hummingbirds help plants reproduce as well as keep ecosystems balanced. (Reference 11)




References

  1. https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/importance.shtml

  2. https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Bees

  3. https://www.canr.msu.edu/nativeplants/pollination/

  4. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/helping-agricultures-helpful-honey-bees

  5. https://canadiangeographic.ca/articles/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-moths/

  6. https://www.si.edu/spotlight/buginfo/moths

  7. https://seeds.ca/sw8/web/pollination/pollinator-profiles/butterflies-and-moths

  8. https://www.pollinator.org/pollinator.org/assets/generalFiles/Like-a-Moth-to-a-Flower.pdf

  9. https://nationalzoo.si.edu/migratory-birds/hummingbirds

  10. https://pollinatorpartnership.ca/en/birds

  11. https://creatureconserve.com/hummingbird-conservation




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