When you bite into a juicy strawberry this spring, you should not only thank the local farmer who grew it, but also pollinators, without which this delight would likely not exist.
There are many different types of pollinators in Massachusetts, from bees to butterflies to hummingbirds. They help plants reproduce by spreading pollen among plants of the same species.
The simple truth is that we literally cannot live without them.
"Pollinators visit flowers in search of food, mates, shelter and nest-building materials," writes the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "The secret bond of the partnership is that neither plant nor pollinator populations can exist in isolation – should one disappear, the other may be one generation away from disaster."
Pollinators are responsible for assisting over 80 percent of the world's flowering plants to reproduce, according to MassAudubon. Without them, humans and wildlife wouldn't have much to eat or look at!
More than half of the world’s diet of fats and oils come from animal-pollinated plants (oil palm, canola, sunflowers, etc.), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More than 150 food crops in the U.S. depend on pollinators, including almost all fruit and grain crops.
In the United States alone, pollination of agricultural crops is valued at 10 billion dollars annually. Globally, pollination services are likely worth more than 3 trillion dollars.
In addition to the food that we eat, pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support other wildlife, according to Pollinator.org.