Be(e) Pesticide Free for Pollinators!
by Sydney Boogaard, SLCgreen intern
Spring and summer weather is welcomed with open arms after cold grey winters. Maybe, it’s getting back into the mountains to hike, bike, and sightsee; or spending time in the yard gardening, barbecuing, and playing fetch.
Whatever it is you enjoy outside this season we hope you have the privilege of seeing some beautiful pearl crescent butterflies, ruby-throated hummingbirds, or fuzzy honeybees. We encourage you to admire and celebrate their presence—for they provide us with vital plant reproduction and are essential to our natural and agricultural ecosystems.
Unfortunately, the population of these important pollinators is on a troublesome decline. In 2007, the National Research Council reported on that one of the sources of this decline is connected to pesticide exposure. Pesticides contain many chemicals that reduce pollinators’ defense systems, disrupt digestion, impair their navigation abilities, and limit their ability to reproduce.
Thus, we hope you will joins us in protecting our honeybees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and all pollinators by going Pesticide Free! Join us in thanking them for their crucial services by giving them the best shot at a healthy and productive life — say no to pesticides and take the Pesticide Free Pledge.
Honeybees have been around for millions and millions of years. During this time they have provided humans with their wax, honey, and pollinating services.
Did you know honeybees are the only insect that produce food that humans eat? They travel up to six miles in a trip and fly up to 15 miles per hour, all while beating their wings 200 times per second—talk about a workout. Over time, bees have also learned to communicate with one another through dance. They communicate a sense of time, direction, and distance to convey the location of promising pollen and nectar. Needless to say, these creatures are incredibly impressive.
Utah is proud to be the Beehive State! The honey bee is our state emblem. It is on our state flag and our state seal. It stands for hard work and industry. In fact, the honey bee is the official state symbol in 17 states. This is in recognition of its vital role in the agricultural industry.
It’s not just the honeybee that deserves some love. Utah is also home to nearly 900 native bee species. These wild bees are outstanding pollinators, keeping Utah’s fruit trees, flowering plants, and crops healthy and thriving. They can do the same for your gardens and yards.
In fact, our gardens can also become a sanctuary for our native bee species. Urbanization and development are putting pressure on bees. A decline in flowering green spaces is making it harder for them to find shelter and food. Plant pollinator-friendly plants in your yard to help.
This guide is a wonderful resource for getting started: Selecting Plants for Pollinators: A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers, and Gardeners In the Nevada–Utah Mountains Semi-desert coniferous forest Alpine Meadow Province.
By selecting plants for pollinators you are not only contributing to a healthier life for our native bees but for other important pollinators as well. These include butterflies, moths, birds, bats, flies, and beetles—all of whom play a necessary and important role in our ecosystem.
Pledge to be Pesticide Free
You will also get an attractive yard sign as a symbol of your commitment. We expect it will also serve as an inspiration to others in your neighborhood to ask and learn more– and hopefully make their own Pesticide Free pledge.
Spread the word! Share this post on social media and use the hashtag #PesticideFreeSLC .
Talk to your friends and neighbors about how and why they can phase out pesticides!
And stay tuned for the next #PesticideFreeSLC tip!