#Time4TheTalk: The Birds and the Bees

Parents and children, it’s time to sit down and have THE TALK. You know, the one about the birds and the bees? I know this can be uncomfortable, but it’s time we all sat down and cleared things up in regard to the importance of the birds and the bees. Are you ready?

Pollination takes place when pollen is moved within flowers or between flowers by pollinating animals such as birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, and other animals. Why is this so important? It allows flowers to blossom and plants to produce full-bodied fruit and viable seeds. 

Oh...did you think I was talking about human reproduction? No, silly, I was being literal! We really need to talk about BIRDS and BEES and the other pollinating insects and animals and how vital they are to our own health and well-being.

First, let's talk about why pollinators are truly essential and shouldn't be viewed as pests:

  • 80-90% of the world’s flowering plants and around 35% of the world’s food crops require the help of pollinators
  • Pollinators heavily contribute to our food, beverages, and fibers for clothing and manufacturing, spices, and medicines
  • Like potatoes, peaches, apples, almonds, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, melons, vanilla, pumpkins, or tequila? Their continuing survival depends on our pollinators!
  • Some scientists estimate that 1 of every 3 bites of food we take is due to the work of these pollinating creatures!
  • Scientists also estimate that due to the food we produce for human consumption, pollination is globally worth 265 billion dollars!

Unfortunately the talk we are having must also include the bad that comes along with the good.  There is disturbing evidence worldwide that shows pollinating animals are losing their habitats, dying from chemical misuses and environment contaminants, dying from the takeover by invasive plant and animal species, and dying from diseases and parasites. The U.S. alone has lost more than 50% of its honeybee colonies in the last ten years. Many species of bees and butterflies are rapidly declining due to the widespread use of chemical pesticides. The pollinators are struggling to survive. If they die out, we are in trouble! So what can we do to help? Stay tuned to ISF's #Time4theTalk campaign to learn more about what we can do!

 

So now you know! That wasn’t so bad was it? But like we said, our talk about the birds and the bees is not over, it's only just begun! Keep a lookout for our upcoming articles for more information about our most important pollinating friends and great ideas on how to help them! #ISF thinks that it’s #Time4theTalk about how important and vital pollinators are to our lives and survival! We want you to help us tell THE WORLD how important they are and that the #Time4theTalk has come!

Here are a few tweets that are ready to go for you when you help #ISF get the word out!

Honey-bees make long distance relationships work. They'll travel up to 5mi to feed on nectar & gather pollen! #Time4theTalk #ISF

Honeybees play the field, visiting 50-1000 flowers during a single collection trip. #Time4theTalk #ISF

Birds go for looks. Plants that use birds as pollinators typically have bright red, orange or yellow flowers! #Time4theTalk #ISF

Bumblebees know how to work smarter - scent marking flowers to let others know the nectar is gone. #Time4theTalk #ISF

Want some breakfast? Lunch? & Dinner? Pick 2. Because bees pollinate 1/3 of the food you eat. 2 meals without honey bees! #Time4theTalk #ISF

Get batty! Did you know even bats help with pollination?! #Time4theTalk #ISF

Monarchs pollinate but need milk! Well, milkweed that is! #Time4theTalk #ISF

Save the planet, Save our Pollinators! #Time4theTalk #ISF

Go ahead, Google what Einstein said will happen if we lose honey bees… #Time4theTalk #ISF

Have YOU had the Talk? #Time4theTalk #ISF

Help decrease world hunger by making harvests better with happy pollinators! #Time4theTalk #ISF

Written By; Megan Frison

 

Sources:

"Bees in Decline." Bees Decline. Greenpeace, 2014. Web. 15 June 2014.

Carrington, Damian. "Loss of Wild Pollinators Serious Threat to Crop Yields, Study Finds." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 01 Mar. 2013. Web. 16 June 2014.

Hodges, Louise. "Why Are Pollinators Important?" Greenbug. Greenbug All Natural, 2010. Web. 16 June 2014.

"Natural Resources Conservation Service." Insects & Pollinators. United States Department of Agriculture, 2014. Web. 16 June 2014.

"POLLINATION & HUMAN LIVELIHOODS." Global Action on Pollination Services for Sustainable Agriculture. Food and Agriculture of the United Nations, 2014. Web. 16 June 2014.

"Pollinators.” Pollinators Home Page - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, 11 June 2014. Web. 16 June 2014.

"Pollinators Need You and You Need Pollinators." WWW.polinator.org. Pollinator Partnership, 2014. Web. 16 June 2014.

"Possible Causes of Pollinator Decline." AgriLand. Leeds University, 2014. Web. 16 June 2014.

"The Benefits of Pollination for Agriculture." Pollination Station EU. European Crop Protection Association, 2014. Web. 16 June 2014.

Additional Information:

Bees in peril: a timeline

Is Your Garden Pesticide Killing Bees?

Not Just the Bees: Bayer's Pesticide May Harm Birds, Too

Study: Pesticides Make Bees Forget the Smell of Food

What's killing the bees? TIME magazine examines the crisis

White House Gets Behind the Bees