National Pollinator Week is coming to a close, but it’s important to remember the importance of this event. While small and often inconspicuous, pollinators provide a wonderful service to our environment, economy, and culture. Even if it’s just one week of admiration for these critters, it’s imperative we consider pollinators and appreciate all they do for us as much as we can. Above, you can see a collage created by Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda. Below, you can see Governor Bill Lee’s 2021 proclamation. From here at UT, here are quotes from the Dean of Extension and the Vice President/Chancellor of UTIA: “National pollinator week is a great time to reflect upon how important pollinators are across our ecosystems. Without them,
There is great diversity in pollinators in the world but here in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, we have a special place in our hearts for insect pollinators. For several crops (such as sunflowers, blueberries, sweet cherries, and apples), increased bee diversity can result in increased pollination and productivity. Similarly, diversity in floral resources helps supply essential nutrients to pollinators. The UT Gardens in Knoxville will soon be adding signage to indicate some of the pollinators’ favorite plants – please plan a visit to enjoy the plants and the pollinators!
Hoverflies are incredibly important pollinators. In many ways, they are the underdogs (underflies?) in the pollinating world as many mistake them for bees. They are experts of Batesian mimicry, acting as doppelgangers for wasps and bees in hopes of avoiding predators. Sometimes this mimicry is too uncanny, giving bees undue credit for the wonderful services these little critters provide. It’s quite easy to get the two confused, but as soon as the hoverfly takes flight and begins to “hover” in your face, you know you have the real deal. In addition to pollination, hoverflies also aid in pest management. Many of their larvae are predatory, eating other harmful pests that can damage our crops. They also recycle organic matter
Dr. Laura Russo from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology created this wonderful poster showcasing many of the types of bees found here in Tennessee. Many are very common and can be found even in your own garden! From left to right/top to bottom: Mason bees Leaf cutter bees Small carpenter bees Bumble bees Sweat bees Mining bees Blue-green sweat bees Let us know if you happen to find any of these bees in your own yard! Take plenty of pictures! Most of these critters are quite friendly and are reluctant to sting you so don’t be afraid. 🙂
Happy National Pollinator Week! National Pollinator Week is an annual event in support of pollinator health.
Help feed bees so they can help feed us! While Pollinator Week comes to an end for the year, please remember that you can help pollinators every day.
The University of TN, Knoxville was certified as a Bee Campus, USA in March of 2020! To achieve this recognition, UTK has committed to developing a plan to include pollinator habitats on campus and hosting events and learning opportunities to increase awareness about the importance of pollinators
Did you know that one out of every three bites of food has been influenced by animal pollination? Pollinators are involved in the production of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Additionally, they are also involved in the pollination of some less-commonly known products such as cacao (chocolate), vanilla, agave, and even coffee!
For #NationalPollinatorWeek, we would love to take a moment to bring the spotlight to the poster-child of pollinators:
The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is not native to North America but has become an integral part of agriculture in the United States. Honey bees are generalists in that they forage on a variety of plant species, including many of the food crops that are also not native to the U.S.
Check out these photos of these hoverflies!