What are pollinators?

Pollinators help plant's reproduce by moving pollen within or between flowers. Pollinators support biodiversity by aiding in the ecological mechanism of pollination. In addition, pollinators are often keystone species that act to stabilize ecosystems by supporting both plant diversity and plant reproduction.  

Why are pollinators in trouble?

Pollinator numbers and types are declining worldwide. This is due to:

  • Habitat loss
  • Pesticide use
  • Disease
  • Parasites
  • Non-native species

Twenty-five percent of native bees, including bumblebees, are facing extinction.

Why is pollinator diversity important?

Most pollinators visit a variety of flowering plants. Likewise, plants are usually pollinated by a range of pollinators.  Pollinator diversity allows for this redundancy, this provides insurance in case some pollinator species are absent. Winfree et al. 2018 found that high pollinator biodiversity is necessary for full ecosystem functioning. 

Most pollinators are insects but birds and bats can also be pollinators.


Why should I care about pollinators?

Do you like to eat? Pollination by insects increases the quality, size and quantity of the majority of fruit and seeds for major agricultural crops worldwide. 

Plants are the cornerstone of a healthy ecological system. Over 80% of flowering plants require pollinators.

How can I help pollinators?

  • Provide habitat for pollinators on your yard, balcony or farm.
  • Support expansion of pollinator habitat, like pollinator gardens, in your local area.
  • Plant keystone plant species for pollinators.
  • Reduce or eliminate pesticide use that harms pollinators.

Check out my booklet on pollinator plants for the inland Pacific Northwest Pollinator handout 2021


Rachael Winfree, James R. Reilly, Ignasi Bartomeus, Daniel P. Cariveau, Neal M. Williams, Jason Gibbs. Species turnover promotes the importance of bee diversity for crop pollination at regional scale.
Science 16 Feb 2018: 791-793 Download PDF