Celebrate the work of honeybees, other pollinators during National Pollinator Week
Pollinator species such as honey bees, other insects and birds are essential partners of farmers in producing much of our food supply. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services encourages all Virginians to join in celebrating National Pollinator Week by helping to attract, protect and increase the state’s pollinator species.
Pollination occurs when insects, animals, wind or water transfer pollen from the anther of one plant or flower to the stigma of another in the process of fertilization. In most plants, pollination is necessary for the plant to produce seeds. Depending on the plant, pollination that occurs from contact with insects and animals results in a higher yield of fruit for strawberry, cucumber, apple, tomato, squash or watermelon plants.
“Over the past few years, bee populations, as well as the populations of other pollinators such as birds, butterflies, bats and beetles, have declined dramatically. This year, Virginia beekeepers are reporting a busy swarm season, as it appears bees made it through winter with stronger populations and the mild temperatures in January and February were less stressful on the insects,” said Keith Tignor, State Apiarist, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “I encourage every Virginian, urban or rural, to do something to help attract, protect and increase the state’s pollinator species.”
The following are a few ideas to help attract, protect and increase the populations of pollinators in Virginia:
- Support your local beekeeper by buying local honey.
- Plant flowers in a variety of colors and shapes to attract pollinators to your garden, window box or hanging basket. Go to pollinator.org/guidesand enter your zip code for an area-specific guide and a great aid to get started.
- Set-up a pollinator refreshment station in your garden. Add water in a shallow bowl or pie tin with rocks or marbles for the bees to stand.
- Learn more about how to interact with bees so that we can co-exist.
- Become a beekeeper by setting up your own hive. State Apiarist Keith Tignor, Cooperative Extension offices or a local beekeeping association are great resources for more information.
For additional information, Virginians should contact Tignor at 804.786.3515 or by email at email@example.com.