Pollinators need our help!

Populations of monarch butterflies, bees, and other pollinators are plummeting.

Pollinators are a necessary part of our ecosystem.  Pollinators are responsible for fertilizing many of our food crops.  Without them, many food crops would no longer exist.

A pollinator is a bee, moth, butterfly, or other insect; bird; bat; or other animal that moves pollen from the male anthers to the female stigma of flowering plants.  The wind can also serve as a pollinator.  Once pollinated, the plant can produce fruits, vegetables, and seeds. 

In the United States, managed honeybee colonies have experienced significant losses of bees.  Other pollinators are also in decline.  The exact causes have not been identified, but many causes are suspected, including:

  • the loss of flowering plants
  • the loss of native habitat due to expanding urban areas and monoculture farming of soybeans and corn
  • widespread use of pesticides which also kill beneficial insects such as pollinators
  • climate change and changing weather patterns
  • diseases and parasites

monarch on milkweed.JPG

photo by Laura McCormack

You can help by:

  • planting a variety of native plants in your yards and gardens
  • reducing the use of pesticides on your lawn
  • consider planting an organic lawn, that does not use artificial fertilizers and pesticides
  • purchasing organically-grown foods, that are produced without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers
  • Raising milkweed in your garden.  There are many varieties of milkweed native to Iowa.  The common milkweed is a favorite of the monarchs.
  • Advocating that the secondary road crew in your county plant milkweed as part of their Roadside Vegetative Management.  The secondary road crew is a division of the County Engineer.