Moerschel, Will. “Butterflies and Bees”. 2021.
The arrival of Spring is typically welcomed by the delightful buzzing of bees and butterflies. However, soon this season may fall silent if pollinator populations continually plummet.
From 1947 to 2008, honey bee populations declined by a shocking 60% (1). Butterflies are following a similar tragic trend, as a study of 81 species found a 33% decline. (2) Some regions are even suffering from a complete disappearance, like Western California, where the Monarch Butterfly population has declined by 86% in a single year (3).
It is time we accept the bitter truth that we ourselves are pushing bees and butterflies towards extinction. We depend on these important insects more than you may realize. They are two of the few pollinators that keep our planet’s ecosystem and food supply flourishing. In fact, these little helpers transfer pollen crucial for the survival of 35% of the world’s crops and 3/4 of all wild plants (4). Without their hard work, most of these plants would perish. Did you know that about 1 out of every 4 bites of food you savor is all thanks to the bees and butterflies? (5)
Without Bees and Butterflies We Wouldn’t Have:
What Causes These Mass Declines?
Scientists have narrowed the causes down to three main issues:
- Habitat Loss
- Invasive Pests and Pathogens (8)
They work together to form a deadly trio for our bees and butterflies. If we don’t change our ways, not only will the bee and butterfly populations continually disappear, but our food supply will disappear alongside them. So, how can we guarantee that we will never have to see a world without these amazing creatures and prevent the loss of many beloved foods?
Changes We Can Make
Luckily, the changes we need to make are quite simple.
- Plant some beautiful flowers in your garden this season! By sprucing up your backyard, you will help rebuild the habitats that bees and butterflies absolutely need. Try to choose different types to provide a variety of pollen and nectar.
- Don’t use any pesticides! These will deter bees from entering your garden and do harm.
- Add some water! Bees work up quite a thirst while gathering pollen, so adding a shallow bath of water will be a major help.
Ten Plants to Save the Bees
- Cone flower
- Black-eyed Susan
- Any Berry, Vegetable, or Fruit Plant
Ten Plants to Save the Butterflies
- Wild Indigo
- Butterfly Bush
Doing Our Part
Let’s keep the Spring skies filled with the beauty of our bees and butterflies and the bounty of our food plentiful, by planting one flower at a time together.