Butterfly on milkweed.

Butterflies are one of the first insects most people think of when asked to name a pollinator.

Pollinators represent a diverse group of organisms. Bees (specifically honeybees), butterflies, and hummingbirds are the first animals most people think of when someone mentions pollinators. But there are many other types of pollinators. Beetles, moths, bats, ants, and flies are just a few examples of other less commonly thought of pollinators. Scientists estimate there are approximately 200,000 species of pollinators worldwide. In North America, there are approximately 4,000 species of native bees alone.

Pollinators are an extremely important part of the ecosystem. Almost 3/4 of the world’s flowering plants rely on animal pollinators. The seeds and fruits of many of those plants are important food sources for humans and wildlife. A few species of flowering plants rely on a single pollinator species. If that plant species or its pollinator becomes extinct then the other will soon follow. Unfortunately, pollinators throughout the world are facing many threats including habitat loss, increased pesticide use, and new diseases.

Small, native bee on buttercup.

There are approximately 4,000 species of native bees in North America.

As a beekeeper, I am constantly learning about honeybees, the threats to them, and the flowers they use to gather nectar and pollen. I am also interested in how they interact with native pollinators. Bugs, birds, bats, plants, and just about anything related to nature has always fascinated me. That fascination is why I chose wildlife biology as a career. As a wildlife biologist, I understand the complex relationships between plants and their pollinators, the importance of habitat conservation, and the devastating effects of introduced diseases and species. My wildlife biology background comes in very handy with my beekeeping activities. It also helps that I am innately curious and love learning.

Honeybee on milkweed.

Honeybees play an important role in agriculture but are not native to North America.

I enjoy sharing what I know and believe that the best way to truly understand something is to teach it to someone else. Friends often ask me to identify various plants that they find. Recently, many have also begun asking what they can do to help pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies. Those questions plus my love of pollinators and teaching are what inspired me to start this blog.

I plan to focus this blog on Kentucky pollinators and all things related. Sample topics will include profiles of specific pollinators or plants, habitat conservation and creating backyard habitats, beekeeping, interactions between different pollinators, and current research. If there is a particular pollinator-related topic you are interested in, let me know. My goal is for this blog to be a useful, fun, and educational conversation about Kentucky’s pollinators.

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