Which Crops Need Pollination?
There are too many to name, but many of our most popular crops need bees and other pollinators to grow and produce. A recent study showed that at least 80% of the world's crop species require pollination to set seed, including: kiwifruit, cashews, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, gourds, zucchini, passion fruit, cocoa, vanilla and many, many more.
Recent Decline of Pollinators
In the most recent decades, many pollinator populations are considered to be in decline and some (such as several varieties of bees) are even in danger of extinction. This is not only devastating for the fact that we are losing an entire species from our planet, but this could bring forth dire circumstances for global food webs and human health.
How You Can Help
One of the best ways gardeners can help pollinators is by planting a pollinator garden.
This helps create a larger diversity of nectar and pollen sources. Putting pollinator-friendly plants together in one area helps to make their work a little easier, consequently reducing stress.
If you are planting a formal perennial garden, try to group a dense amount of plants in close proximity to one another, all with different shapes, colors and bloom times. This helps to attract a variety of pollinators all season long.
It is also important to try to grow plants that are native to your area! Several varieties that are especially attractive to pollinators are penstemon, foxglove, peonies, black eyed susans, echinacea, sunflowers, bee balm and more.