So, let’s talk about the birds and the bees. And the butterflies. And the bats. And the…lemurs? It’s time to talk about pollinators!
These animals are incredibly important. By transferring pollen from one flower to another, they keep the natural world in good working order, and help us grow our crops. About every third bite of food we eat is thanks to pollinators. Plants that rely on insects and other animals include bat-pollinated agave (where tequila comes from), alfalfa (what cows eat), bananas, chocolate, grapes, pumpkins, tomatoes, vanilla, and so many more! Many of us are familiar with butterflies and European honey bees (who also provide us with honey and wax), but what about other bees?
North America has over 4,000 species of native bees! As a whole, they’re better pollinators than European honeybees, being able to work longer hours in cooler temperatures. Most of them are solitary. This means instead of forming the large hives we’re familiar with, the females nest individually in tubes. They pack a hollow stick or grass stem with pollen and nectar, and lay a single egg. When the egg hatches out into a larva, it’s got plenty to eat. It will overwinter in the tube, and emerge in the spring.
Come join us on Saturday, May 14 at 11:00 am to learn more about pollinators and build an insect house! This is a fun activity that will make a home for solitary bees and other beneficial insects. This activity is for kids of all ages and their accompanying adults. Registration is required and there will be materials provided for one house per family. Additional pollinator information and wildflower seeds will be included.
You can also find wildflower seeds at our new Seed Library, located near the CDs across from the Circulation Desk. You can check out the “Bee a Reader” book display in the Children’s Room this month, highlighting books on bees and honey. And be sure to get outside and enjoy the great spring weather with our May StoryWalk book The Very Impatient Caterpillar in Standish Park.