Pollinators are definitely in need of our help. These little honeybees, bumble bees, some bats, humming birds — you get the idea — work hard to pollinate all of the crops that are not pollinated by the wind. This basically means they bring us melons, almonds, apples, cherries – anything that’s not a grain.
In California, where there is currently a tremendous drought, much attention is being focused on the almond crop. Not only does this crop require a significant amount of water, it requires the assistance of honeybees as well. Without the bees, what would be left is hand-pollination.
Pollination by hand by people who use a small brush or other implement and climb up on ladders beside the trees to make the necessary transaction. In parts of China this is a normal practice.
So the plight of the honeybee has been in the news for at least a decade. It seems we’re finally giving up the battle over why and turning the focus to what to do. That seems eminently reasonable given the fact that honeybees have been in decline the entire time stakeholders have been pointing fingers or wringing their hands. One thing is for sure, however: the beekeepers know that their bees can’t continue at this rate.
One thing all parties seem to be in agreement about is that current farming methods and rates of development have left precious little in the way of wildflowers and other pollinator delicacies available to the pollinators. So – before every last bee dies as the cause of the problem makes its way through whatever litigation is inevitable, some people have decided to take a very simple yet meaningful action.
The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, of which Michelle Obama is a welcome and important champion, calls for the creation of one million new pollinator spaces by the end of 2016. Everything counts. Add a window box with bee-friendly flowers – that’s one. Plant some deck pots with plants that are irresistible to hummingbirds – that’s two. All you need to do is join in and take a very simple action. The important thing is to plant pollinator-friendly native plants now. It may not have the cache of a chia pet or a pet rock, but it’s hopefully a fad that will change the fate of the pollinators.