Flowers produce a sweet ENERGY DRINK called NECTAR
Lttle garden friends need ENERGY, just like people do. Animal Pollinators such as Bats, Bees & Wasps, Ladybugs & Beetles, Birds, Butterflies, Flies, and Moths are needed for the reproduction of over 90% of flowering plants and one third of human food crops! By visiting flowers in search of food (nectar and pollen), pollinators KEEP THE ENERGY GOING in the garden. See a close-up photo of a bee with yellow pollen sticking to his legs (on right).
Different Types of Animal Pollinators
Pollen is the flower’s way of making more flowers. The male part of the flower makes pollen, the powdery grains shown above. Pollen transferred from flower to flower by animal pollinators helps plants maintain genetic diversity.
Beetles are the largest group of pollinators. The ladybug above drinks nectar and eats pollen, in addition to being a beneficial insect that also eats garden pests. Beetles prefer flowers with lots of pollen, dull white or green in color, and mild in odor.
Butterflies aren’t the champions that bees are but they are still very important pollinators! Most butterflies prefer flowers that are shaped like large landing pads, while others, like the swallow tail butterflies, can nectar in rapid flight like hummingbirds. These larger butterflies can obtain nectar from long tubular flowers as well.
Believe it or not, if it weren’t for fly pollinators, there would be no CHOCOLATE from cocoa tree fruit production! The benefit of fly pollination is underestimated. There are more than 100 crops that depend on regular visits from fly pollinators. Of course, flies prefer stinky flowers pale, dull, or drab in color.
Moths are members of the same family as butterflies, Lepidoptera, and therefore have similar needs – Nectar for ENERGY. Moths are nighttime pollinators, like bats, who prefer flower clusters or ones shaped like landing pads. Visiting flowers in the dark, they are attracted to strong sweet scented nighttime blooming flowers, muted in color.