(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2007) The U.S. Senate (S.Res. 580) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated June 24-30, 2007 as National Pollinator Week. This week has been designated to recognize the important work of pollinators and their role in ecosystem health. The Pollinator Partnership, sponsored by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) and their partners, has put together numerous resources and events all across the country to raise awareness and support for pollinators and pollinator-friendly practices.
Pollinators include approximately 200,000 species of beneficial insects such as bees, flies, wasps, butterflies, to name a few, along with vertebrates such as bats, birds and small mammals. Pollination is the process of pollen transfer between flowering plants that leads to fertilization. Without pollination, most plants would be unable to produce fruits or seeds and many of the foods consumed would no longer be available. Pollinators are responsible for pollinating about 75 percent of all crop plants worldwide. This translates to approximately 20 billion dollars worth of food and medicinal products. Other animals and plants also rely on pollinators for food and shelter.
Recent studies indicate that these important species are disappearing. Loss of habitat, diseases and the widespread use of pesticides have led to the decline of many beneficial insects. Since late 2006, dramatic losses in honeybee populations across the U.S. have led to what is being termed Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD, which has not only threatened the livelihood of beekeepers, but also strained fruit growers and other farmers who rely on bees to pollinate more than 90 flowering crops, including apples, nuts and citrus trees. Pesticides, such as imidacloprid, have been shown to disrupt the mobility, navigation, and feeding behavior of beneficial insects, and have been blamed for the decline in many insect populations, especially the honeybee.
Many events celebrating and raising awareness about pollinators will be held during National Pollinator Week. To find out what is happening in your state, visit http://www.pollinator.org/pollinator_week.htm.
To find out more about the harmful effects of pesticides and non-toxic alternatives, please visit Beyond Pesticides at http://www.beyondpesticides.org/how-to/index.htm.