Why Insect Pollination Is Essential for Ecosystem Health

Insect pollination is essential for ecosystem health, but it’s easy to think that all bugs are pests — an assumption that’s simply not true. All seed-producing plants must be pollinated, and pollen is vital for a plant’s reproduction cycle. Plants are major sources of food, nesting, and protection for the insects that pollinate them.

Protecting trees from insects and pests is one thing, but in the process, killing off bees and other insects that bring pollen to plants and flowers damages the ecosystem. Without a solid ecosystem, much of the world’s food supplies would not exist. 

Economic Impact

Of the roughly 1,400 crop plants grown around the world for food and plant-based products, nearly 80 percent are pollinated by insects and animals, says the USDA. Bees, birds, and other pollinators help provide higher crop yields, and larger, more flavorful fruits and vegetables. In the United States, pollinated crops are valued at an annual estimation of $10 billion.

Environmental Benefits

Pollination comes from birds, bees, beetles, moths, butterflies, bats, and other animals.  Water and wind also transfer pollen from flower to flower. Successful transfers lead to seed development, fertilization, and fruiting. However extreme temperatures, drought, and disease can stunt seed production.

Solid plant roots purify water and prevent soil erosion, especially during rainfall. Water cycles depend on pollinators to help plants and flowers reproduce.

Flowering plants also produce oxygen — the air we breathe.

Pollinators Inside the Home

As important as pollination is, you don’t want it going on inside your own home. But if birds or insects are nesting inside your house — like in an attic, vent, or roof eave — they may be looking for something to pollinate (it’s in their nature).

Nesting birds and insects leave droppings that might draw more bugs and diseases, such as salmonellosis, and E-coli. If you find birds, butterflies, bats, and other pollinating critters inside your home or business, call a professional like Wildlife X Team Bird Control services. They will guide pollinators to a more appropriate and productive location.  

Encouraging Pollinators Outdoors

Strengthening your home’s ecosystem is as simple as planting a few trees or creating a rain garden. Here are a few ways to draw pollinating birds and insects to your backyard landscape: 

Consider various types of habitats that can increase biodiversity, enhance curb appeal, and even control insects like mosquitoes.

Native plants usually have a lot of nectar and pollen. They are mostly pest-free, low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and control erosion. Plants indigenous to your area are also good sources of food and shelter for birds, bees, butterflies, and other beneficial wildlife.

Flowers of all shapes and sizes attract pollinators. Butterflies love colorful flowers; some females even lay eggs on or inside of them. The blooms on native and heirloom plants and herbs are also good for bringing in the bees.  

Eliminate (or limit) chemical and natural pesticides. Bug-killers can kill the “good guys,” too. 

Concerns for Pollinators 

Birds, bees, bats, and other pollinating insects are being challenged by disease, parasites, pollution, and habitat loss. Quantity and quality of food (pollen and nectar from nearby blooming plants) are hard to find for some pollinators, and pollinator-friendly plants and habitats are dwindling.

If you think you have a wildife or pest infestation problem damaging your home, garden, or other property, then the experts at Wildlife X Team can help. Give us a call at 855-WILDLIFE or visit www.wildlifexteam.com for more information. 

Teri Silver is a journalist and outdoor enthusiast. She and her husband live on 5 acres with a vast lawn, three gardens, a farm, a pond, many trees, and a lot of yard work! The best parts of the year are summer and fall when home-grown veggies are on the dinner table.

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