A Blue View: Pollinators in Peril

Did you know that one out of every three bites of food you eat comes from pollinators? Without them, we wouldn’t have blueberries, apples, coffee, chocolate and almonds, among others.

Published March 15, 2016

monarch

Unfortunately, common pollinators are facing significant population declines. A new U.N.-sponsored report estimates that nearly 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species (those are the bees, butterflies and more) face extinction. Additionally, 16 percent of our vertebrate pollinators, like birds and bats, are also facing extinction.

Luckily, you can help! Make your backyard (or your balcony, community garden or local park) pollinator-friendly with these tips:

Use Native Plants.

Native flowering plants local to your area provide butterflies with the nectar and foliage they need as adults and caterpillars.

Bring On the Butterflies!

Flowering plants with red, yellow, orange, pink and purple blossoms are especially attractive to butterflies. They also prefer flat-topped or clustered blossoms with short flower tubes.

Provide a Water Source.

If you don’t have a natural water source nearby, such as a pond or river, create one! Birdbaths, rain gardens and puddling areas for butterflies provide wildlife with the clean water they need for drinking, bathing and reproduction.

Plant for Continuous Bloom.

Keep flowering plants blooming in your backyard year-round! Choose flowers that bloom in different seasons, so when one plant stops another begins. 

Say No to Insecticides.

Insecticides, as you may have guessed, kill insects—including pollinators. Avoid using these products around your home. Some of the wildlife you attract with your native garden may even act as natural pest controllers, such as birds, toads and beetles.

Add Resting and Nesting Areas.

Birds can benefit from a nesting box to protect and raise their young. Butterflies need a place to rest and bask in the sun in preparation for flight—a few flat stones will do the trick.

Previous Post

Featured Stories

Cold-stunned turtle patient Animal Rescue Update: Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles

The 32 cold-stunned rescue sea turtles in the National Aquarium’s care are improving after a few weeks under the watchful eyes of our staff.

Read the full story

WeGo at the National Aquarium WeGo: Bringing the Aquarium to Critically Ill Children

A pilot program at the National Aquarium brings the wonder of the world’s aquatic treasures directly to children in local hospitals.

Read the full story

Related Stories

A Blue View: Shark Navigation is All in the Nose

Published June 28, 2016

A Blue View: Oyster Gardens

Published June 21, 2016