Our Pollinators Need You!
Of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of human nutrition, over 70 require bee pollination to produce. Many people are unaware that native bees are the primary pollinator of most of our food crops or increase yield by significantly supplementing the activity of European honeybees. To put it simply, native pollinators are critical to producing food for humans and wildlife. Many of these essential pollinators are rapidly declining because of human causes, and this could begin to threaten our food supply and our very existence.
A large study of all 4,337 North American and Hawaiian native bees has raised serious concerns.1 The key findings:
• Among native bee species with sufficient data to assess, more than half are rapidly declining.
• Nearly 1 in 4 native bee species is imperiled and at risk of extinction.
The primary causes for the decline in these important insects are loss of habitat, including necessary native plants, and pesticide usage. With 86% of all land east of the Mississippi in private hands, we need everyone to pitch in to save our bees.
What can you do? Avoid using pesticides in your garden and choose native plants, which have coevolved with our wildlife in Maryland for thousands of years.
Need ideas? Check out Alliance for the Bay for some wonderful plant suggestions.
This article was written by the Maryland Native Plant Coalition.