It has been 11 years since the U.S. Senate unanimously approved of designating a week in June as National Pollinator Week as a time to celebrate pollinators and increase awareness about the importance of keeping them safe. This year the week is being observed from June 18 through 24. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by pollinators.
Bees are the most commonly recognized pollinator, but there are many other species of insects that do the job. The large majority, roughly 200,000, of pollinators are species of beneficial insects like flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, and moths. There are also approximately 1,000 vertebrates that are pollinators, which includes birds, bats, and other small mammals. Pollinator health is critically important to food production. An estimated one-third of all foods and beverages are made possible by pollinators and in the U.S. alone, pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products each year.
Governor Jerry Brown issued a statement recognizing the importance of pollinator health that read in part, “Pollinator species such as birds and insects are essential partners to farmers and ranchers in production much of our food supply. The state of California provides producers with conservation assistance to promote wise stewardship of lands and habitats, including the protection and maintenance of pollinators on working lands and wild lands…As Governor of California, I urge all citizens to recognize the important role that pollination plays in our state’s economy and ecosystems.”
Multiple events throughout the country have been taking place in honor of National Pollinator Week, including an open house on June 23 at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis. Several events in the San Francisco area have also been educating the public on the importance of pollinators and the use of pollinator-friendly plants with habitat restoration projects and stewardship workshops.