Pollinator Appreciation Month: Celebrating the Unsung Heroes

By Tim Brod, Highland Honey Bees

September is Pollinator Appreciation Month! Hopefully, all of us will take a moment this month to consider the importance of pollinators in our daily lives, and also educate ourselves about their plight.

The European honey bee may be the best-known agricultural pollinator, but in Boulder County alone more than 500 different species of native bees have been recorded. While bees are the primary pollinators, there are many other important pollinators in our region including wasps, flies, beetles, butterflies, moths and birds. All of these pollinators are unsung heroes as many of them are solitary, are associated with specific plants, and are not easily seen unless one goes looking for them.

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There is an increasing public awareness that pollinators are under tremendous pressure, and are failing to thrive or are dying outright. The causes of honey bee decline are well known, and should scare us. They stem from our own kind. All parties involved in the story of honey bee decline agree that it is based on three factors:

  1. Disease
  2. Lack of high-quality forage
  3. Pesticides, primarily insecticides

While it is not in the scope of this blog to flesh out these causes in detail, I would like everyone to consider protecting pollinators by getting involved and informed.
On a personal level you can:

  • Eliminate or minimize your own pesticide (especially insecticide) use
  • Make your home a pollinator haven by creating safe habitat and quality forage
  • Promote healthy, responsible beekeeping practices in your neighborhood
  • Promoting organic or low-impact agriculture

You can apply these same principles on a larger scale by getting involved with your HOA, civic organizations, and city and county governments. Let’s stop the habit of planting non-native grasses, and instead promote sustainable pollinator habitat appropriate to our region. We don’t need to mow every vacant lot, or wide swaths along roadsides. Know your honey producers, and support them if they have healthy beekeeping practices and transparent labeling. These practices can be fun and educational for all ages—as well as critical to a healthy, thriving environment.

Find Tim and Highland Honey Bees at the Boulder and Union Station farmers markets.



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