Davidson is home to many pollinators including various species of bees, wasps, and butterflies and a few species of flies, beetles, birds and bats. What is pollination and why is it important? Pollination allows for plant fertilization through the transfer of pollen in between flowers and is critical to successful seed and fruit production. Pollinators provide essential ecosystem services and greatly impact our daily lives. In fact, billions of dollars of the nation’s agriculture are dependent on pollination. Bees in particular account for a large portion of pollinating species; but they have been suffering great declines, which is why it is more important than ever to protect them and their habitat.
Recently, the Entomology Lab at Davidson College has been conducting analytical research on the composition of pollinating insect species in the area and attempting to determine what type of land use patterns are most beneficial to our small friends. Using high-tech cameras in the field, the researchers have been able to measure pollinator biodiversity in Davidson’s parks and greenways and compare the information to land use patterns analyzed in aerial photography-based mapping systems. So far, preliminary data has shown that honeybees thrive with higher percentages of forest habitat and that several species of paper wasps need a more diverse surrounding environment. By finding out more about local pollinator health, we can better protect these crucial species.
What can you do at home to help? Here is a list of 5 easy things you and your family can do to help aid local pollinators:
- Plant pollinator friendly plants in your yard. Click here for more information!
- Put out salt or mineral licks for butterflies and provide water for all species.
- Build a bee house for kid-friendly and native species like bumble bees and mason bees.
- Replace lawns with flowerbeds and don’t use pesticides.
- Support pro-pollinator causes.