Pollinators – from the buzzing to the fluttering – play an important role in supporting South Australia’s ecosystems. Learn more about them.
It’s Australian Pollinator Week (11 – 19 November 2023), when we celebrate the important role these creatures play in sustaining our lives. Pollinators are an essential component of agricultural production and of healthy, biodiverse landscapes.
Today we’re sharing 5 facts about these unsung heroes.
1. What are pollinators?
Pollinators, like bees, butterflies, wasps, hoverflies and moths, help plants find their perfect partners for reproduction. They carry pollen from one flower to another, ensuring that fruits, vegetables, and wildflowers can grow and thrive. In Australia, we have a fantastic diversity of pollinators, from native bees to vibrant butterflies.
2. The food connection
Did you know that a big chunk of the food on your plate owes its existence to pollinators? Fruits like apples, strawberries, and avocados, and veggies such as tomatoes, zucchinis, and cucumbers rely on pollinators to produce the delicious treats we enjoy. Without them, many crops and fruits would not exist. In fact, more than 75% of the world’s food crops rely on animal pollinators.
3. Australian natives rule
While introduced European honey bees may immediately spring to mind, did you know that Australia’s native bees play an important role in the environment? You'll find more than 1,650 native bee species in Australia (200 in the Adelaide Hills alone), each with its special role in pollinating our diverse plants.
4. Threats to pollinators
Pollinators face some tough challenges. Pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change are some of the hurdles in their path. But here's where we come in. By making environmentally friendly choices, like reducing pesticide use and planting pollinator-friendly plants, we can give them a helping hand.
5. You can make a difference
Now, the good news! You don't need a green thumb or a deep understanding of ecosystems to support our pollinators. Here are some practical tips:
- Plant native flowers: Choose native plants for your garden. They provide the perfect buffet for our native pollinators. You can use the Botanic Garden’s Plant Selector tool to find the perfect match for your garden. If its native bees you’re after, they like white, yellow, blue and purple flowers best!
- Cut down on pesticides: Use natural alternatives or limit pesticide use. It keeps the pollinators safe and our environment healthier.
- Create habitat: Make your garden a haven for pollinators by offering shelter.
- Learn more: Share the knowledge with friends and family. The more people understand, the more we can all help.
As Australian Pollinator Week rolls on, take a moment to appreciate these tiny, yet mighty, eco-heroes. Your simple actions can go a long way in ensuring they keep buzzing and fluttering around, doing what they do best – keeping our environment in good shape.
Main image: Blue banded bee (image courtesy of Martin Stokes)