Pollinator Week shines a spotlight on the vital role of pollinators in our agriculture and ecosystems. This year National Pollinator Week runs from June 21 to 27. Pollinators bring us one in three bites of food, promote ecosystem health, and lay the foundation for a sustainable future.
Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a U.S. Department of Agriculture proclamation to recognize the designation of National Pollinator Week.
Pollinator species — such as birds, bats, bees, and other insects — play an important role in producing more than 100 crops grown in the United States. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $18 billion in value to agricultural crops annually and are critical to ensuring our diets are plentiful with fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
“The health of these agricultural contributors is critical to the vitality and sustainability of U.S. agriculture, food security, and our nation’s overall economy. Pollinators are also essential for healthy, biodiverse ecosystems across public and private lands, including our agricultural lands and our National Forests and grasslands,” said Vilsack. “I applaud pollinator conservation efforts happening across our nation. I recognize we have a lot more work to do to protect these important agricultural contributors and creating awareness about the importance of pollinators is a continued step to ensuring pollinators thrive.”
According the Natural Resources Conservation Service, farmers can help pollinators in many ways if they know the principles of farming for crop pollinators.
- Know the habitat on your farm. Using the illustration as a guide, look for areas on and around your land that can support native bees. Most native bees are solitary or live in small colonies. Bumble, digger, and sweat bees make up the bulk of pollen bees in most parts of the country.
- Protect flowering plants and nest sites. Once you know where bees are living and foraging, do what you can to protect these resources from disturbance and pesticides.
- Enhance habitat with flowering plants and additional nest sites. Most bees love sun and prefer to nest in dry places. Nests are created underground, in twigs and debris, and in dead trees or branches. You can add flowers, leave some ground untilled, and provide bee blocks (tunnels drilled into wood) to increase the number of native bees on your farm.