Skip to main content
Sustainability Quiz 5: Pollinators

Sustainability Quiz 5: Pollinators

Sustainability Quiz 5. Which animals pollinate plants?

Of the 1,400 crop plants grown around the world, i.e., those that produce all our food and plant-based industrial products, almost 80% require pollination by animals. Without pollinators, we are cactus… Actually, maybe not even cactus…

Most of the focus on food pollination is on bees. But the facts are that bees execute just over a third of all pollination. Who also pollinates plants?

ALL OF THEM! All manner of other insects, birds and animals are pollinators as well as bees: flies, beetles, birds, bats, wasps and moths. Different animals work at different times and with a preference for different plants. For instance, bees tend to work during the day and while some moths do work during the day, most come out from dusk, and along with bats, they run the pollination night shift.

Moths particularly like pale, dull red & purple, white or pink flowers that are very fragrant. They also favour big nectar producers, with nectar deeply hidden to suit their long proboscis, such as morning glory, tobacco, yucca, and gardenia. 

Bees prefer blue, purple and yellow flowers and herb gardens are a fav. Rosemary, borage, lavender, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, sunflowers, dandelions, hypericum are all favourites.

What is pollination anyway?

Pollination is the act of transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. Pollination is usually the unintended consequence of an animal’s activity on a flower. 

How it works: The pollinator is often eating or collecting pollen for its protein and other nutritional characteristics, or it is sipping nectar from the flower, when pollen grains attach themselves to the animal’s body. When the animal visits another flower for the same reason, pollen can fall off onto the flower’s stigma and may result in successful reproduction of the flower.

What can you do?

There are many many ways you can help save bees and other pollinators. One of the most joyful and personally pleasing / useful things to do is to plant any kind of flowering plant - on your balcony or in your garden. Support local bee keepers if you eat honey and honey products.

You can also reduce your use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers. If you have a garden, companion plant instead of using pesticides and double your impact with extra flowers. Use natural remedies for anything that really doesn't require a chemical. And most of all, use your own brains. Experiment. 

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below: