The Farmer, the Pollinator and You:

Presentation created by Emilie Janes, Resource Conservationist.

Who is benefiting most from the increase in Pollinator Habitat?

Overview

What is pollination?

Non-insect pollinators.

Insect pollinators, abundance & diversity.

Who’s who? Common conundrums.

Honeybee spotlight.

Importance of insects as pollinators.

Insects & agriculture.

Pollinator initiatives in agriculture.

What is Pollination?

Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the stamen (male part) to the pistil (female part) of the flower.

Pollen (male) + Ovule (female) Seed

fertilization

Figure 1. Pollination illustration, retrieved from https://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/topic_images/p1a684svep19fa19a717161s1pfv03.jpg

Meet the Pollinators

non-insect pollinators

Figure 2. Ruby-throated hummingbird, from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology “All About Birds,” by Ian Davies, 2015, retrieved from https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ruby-throated_Hummingbird/id

BIRDS

Figure 3. Lesser Long-nose bat, from National Park Service, retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/articles/lesser-long-nose-bat.htm

BATS

Figure 4. Dandelion seed, from Wikimedia Commons, retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taraxacum_sect._Ruderalia_MHNT.jpg

WIND

Figure 5. Water as a pollinator, from Wikimedia Commons, retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Water_droplet_blue_bg07.jpg

WATER

The following information has been taken from the PDF “Selecting Plants for Pollinators: A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers, and Gardeners in the Prairie Parkland” provided by the Pollinator Partnership and NAPPC.

Birds – Hummingbirds are the primary birds that play a key role in pollination in North America. Their long beaks and tongues are adaptations that draw nectar from tubular flowers. Pollen is carried on the beaks and feathers, and dispersed from plant to plant. The most common hummingbird species in Illinois is the ruby-throated hummingbird. Confirmed sightings of Allen’s, broad-tailed and rufous hummers have been documented, but are very rare.

Bats – Bats aren’t pollinators in the Midwest, but in the southwest they feed on agave and cactus flower blossoms.

Wind and Water – Many different species of flowering plants rely on abiotic vectors (wind and water) to distribute pollen. Most conifers and about 12% of the world’s flowering plants are wind-pollinated (including the infamous ragweed). Gymnosperms don’t have any way to attract pollinators, and use cones as reproduction (pollen cones and seed cones).

Meet the Pollinators

The pollinator champions: INSECTS!

Figure 6. Insect abundance, from The Evolution of Insects, by Grimaldi and Engel, 2005, retrieved from https://books.google.com/books/about/Evolution_of_the_Insects.html?id=odQmAAAAQBAJ

Figure 7. Insect orders, from The Evolution of Insects, by Grimaldi and Engel, 2005, retrieved from https://books.google.com/books/about/Evolution_of_the_Insects.html?id=odQmAAAAQBAJ

https://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/buginfo/bugnos.htm

From the Smithsonian…

It has long been recognized and documented that insects are the most diverse group of organisms, meaning that the numbers of species of insects are more than any other group. In the world, some 900 thousand different kinds of living insects are known. This representation approximates 80 percent of the world's species

Coleoptera – over 350,000 described species

Lepidoptera – over 180,000 described species

Hymenoptera & Diptera – over 150,000 described species of each

The true figure of living species of insects can only be estimated from present and past studies. Most authorities agree that there are more insect species that have not been described (named by science) than there are insect species that have been previously named. Conservative estimates suggest that this figure is 2 million, but estimates extend to 30 million. 

There are an estimated 10 quintillion individual insects on Earth!

10,000,000,000,000,000,000

Fact from Ted Ed video: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-are-there-so-many-insects-murry-gans

There are around 7 billion humans on earth. Insects outnumber us by more than a billion to one!

Why are insects so successful?

Strong exoskeletons and small size…

Ability to breed quickly, and produce rapidly maturing offspring…

Metamorphosis reduces competition…

Quick to adapt and occupy a variety of niches, utilizing untapped resources…

Examples:

Ability to inhabit harsh environments (bark beetles, ants)

Parasitism (cicada killer, mud daubers, wasp species)

Unique food sources (mosquitoes, biting flies)

https://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-are-there-so-many-insects-murry-gans

The following information has been taken from the Ted Ed video “Why are there so many insects?” by Murry Gans.

Insects are so successful for a variety of reasons. They are incredibly adaptable and resilient creatures.

Many insects have coevolved with flowering plants to form a mutualistic, symbiotic relationship that benefits both organisms.

Insects have tapped into a unique food source, pollen and nectar, and pollinate flowering plants in return.

Why are insects so successful?

Many insects have evolved to form a mutualistic, symbiotic relationship with flowering plants! This relationship has allowed for huge success of these insect species.

It’s interesting to note that…

The most important and specialized insect pollinators fall into four insect orders:

1. Bees, Wasps, & Ants

2. Moths & Butterflies

3. Flies

4. Beetles

The largest numbers of described species of insects fall into four insect orders:

1. Beetles

2. Flies

3. Bees, Wasps, & Ants

4. Moths & Butterflies

This slide shows the relationship between pollinating insects and their abundance & biodiversity. Their success can be attributed to their intricate relationship with flowering plants.

Meet the Pollinators

Insects

Figure 8. Goldenrod Soldier beetle, from BugGuide, by Molly Jacobson, 2012, retrieved from https://bugguide.net/node/view/959553

BEETLES

Figure 9. Hover fly, from BugGuide, by Daniel E. Weeks, 2017, retrieved from https://bugguide.net/node/view/1449626

FLIES

Figure 10. Common Buckeye butterfly, from BugGuide, by Linda Konz, 2006, retrieved from https://bugguide.net/node/view/43369

BUTTERFLIES & MOTHS

Figure 11. Common Eastern bumblebee, from BugGuide, John Garbutt, 2016, retrieved from https://bugguide.net/node/view/1325767

ANTS, WASPS, & BEES

Meet the Pollinators – We will take time to introduce each of the MAJOR (not all) groups of pollinating insects.

IN ORDER OF INCREASING SPECIALIZATION AND IMPORTANCE AS POLLINATORS (as stated by researchers at University of California):

The following information has been taken from the PDF “Selecting Plants for Pollinators: A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers, and Gardeners in the Prairie Parkland” provided by the Pollinator Partnership and NAPPC.

Beetles (Coleoptera = “sheathed wings”)

There are over 30,000 species of beetles found in the United States, and many of them serve a role as pollinator species. Beetles are not the most efficient pollinator species, but they do wander from flower head to flower head and disperse pollen as they go. Beetles are attracted to large, heavily scented flowering plants. Some plants that beetles pollinate are Magnolia, sweetshrub, paw paw, and yellow pond lilies.

Flies (Diptera = “two wings”)

Flies primarily pollinate small flowers that bloom in the shade and in seasonally moist habitats. They are generalist pollinators, meaning that they visit many different species of plants. Flies have a role in pollinating goldenrod and Queen Anne’s lace.

Moths & Butterflies (Lepidoptera = “scaly wings”)

Gardeners have been attracting butterflies to their gardens for a long time, because of their importance as pollinators and their beauty. To attract butterflies, plant flowers in the sunlight in areas that are shielded from the wind. Butterflies also need moist ground for hydration. After dark, more moths (lesser known pollinators) take the night shift for pollination. They are attracted to sweet smelling flowers that open in the evening and night. Butterflies and moths rely more on flowering plants for sustenance than do beetles and flies. They have modified body parts, such as a long proboscis, specifically designed for feeding on flowers. Because of this, butterflies and moths play a larger role in pollination and are an important pollinator species.

Ants, Wasps, Bees (Hymenoptera = “membrane wings”)

Bees are the number one pollinator species!

Kankakee County Pollinators

Meet the Pollinators – We will take time to introduce each of the MAJOR (not all) groups of pollinating insects.

IN ORDER OF INCREASING SPECIALIZATION AND IMPORTANCE AS POLLINATORS (as stated by researchers at University of California):

The following information has been taken from the PDF “Selecting Plants for Pollinators: A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers, and Gardeners in the Prairie Parkland” provided by the Pollinator Partnership and NAPPC.

Beetles (Coleoptera = “sheathed wings”)

There are over 30,000 species of beetles found in the United States, and many of them serve a role as pollinator species. Beetles are not the most efficient pollinator species, but they do wander from flower head to flower head and disperse pollen as they go. Beetles are attracted to large, heavily scented flowering plants. Some plants that beetles pollinate are Magnolia, sweetshrub, paw paw, and yellow pond lilies.

Flies (Diptera = “two wings”)

Flies primarily pollinate small flowers that bloom in the shade and in seasonally moist habitats. They are generalist pollinators, meaning that they visit many different species of plants. Flies have a role in pollinating goldenrod and Queen Anne’s lace.

Moths & Butterflies (Lepidoptera = “scaly wings”)

Gardeners have been attracting butterflies to their gardens for a long time, because of their importance as pollinators and their beauty. To attract butterflies, plant flowers in the sunlight in areas that are shielded from the wind. Butterflies also need moist ground for hydration. After dark, more moths (lesser known pollinators) take the night shift for pollination. They are attracted to sweet smelling flowers that open in the evening and night. Butterflies and moths rely more on flowering plants for sustenance than do beetles and flies. They have modified body parts, such as a long proboscis, specifically designed for feeding on flowers. Because of this, butterflies and moths play a larger role in pollination and are an important pollinator species.

Ants, Wasps, Bees (Hymenoptera = “membrane wings”)

Bees are the number one pollinator species!

Bees/Wasps vs. Flies

Bumble Bee vs. Carpenter Bee

Monarch vs. Viceroy

Butterfly vs. Moth

Common Conundrums

Pollinator mix-ups

Figure 12. American Bumble Bee, from BugGuide, by Scott Nelson, 2007, retrieved from https://bugguide.net/node/view/152809/bgimage

Figure 13. Hover fly, from BugGuide, by Daniel E. Weeks, 2017, retrieved from https://bugguide.net/node/view/1449626

Figure 14. Eastern Carpenter Bee, from BugGuide, by Donna K. Race, 2007, retrieved from https://bugguide.net/node/view/130690

Figure 15. Monarch Butterfly, from BugGuide, by Walter H Bauer, 2016, retrieved from https://bugguide.net/node/view/1317785

Figure 16. Viceroy Butterfly, from BugGuide, by Seth Ausubel, 2017, retrieved from https://bugguide.net/node/view/1430869

Figure 17. Carolina Sphinx Moth, from BugGuide, by Jeff Trahan, 2015, retrieved from https://bugguide.net/node/view/1117615

Bees & Wasps vs. Flies: Order Hymenoptera = two sets of wings (four wings), while Order Diptera, which means “two wings” = one set of wings (two wings)

Bumble Bee vs. Carpenter Bee: Bumble Bees have a fuzzy abdomen often with yellow markings, while Carpenter Bees have a shiny black abdomen

Monarch vs. Viceroy: Notice the line present on the postmedian hindwing of the Viceroy (right)

Butterfly vs. Moth: Moths have feathered antennae, as opposed to the smaller clubbed antennae of butterflies. Moths have larger, fuzzier bodies while butterflies have a slender body. Butterflies are diurnal and forage during the day, while moths are predominantly crepuscular (active at dawn and/or dusk) or nocturnal.

How do they Pollinate?

Honeybee Spotlight

Figure 18. Honey bee, from BugGuide, by Charles Schurch Lewallen, 2013, retrieved from https://bugguide.net/node/view/804196

Social Insects & Pollination

Castes – Queen, Workers, and Drones

  • Queen – one
  • Drones – several hundred
  • Workers – several thousand

CommunicationThe Waggle Dance

  • Direction, distance, and flower type

Figure 19. Honey bee worker, queen and drone, by Alex Wild, retrieved from https://www.alexanderwild.com/Insects/Stories/Honey-Bees/i-tLLsCHk/A

Invisible Patterns

Bees can see both visible and ultraviolet (UV) light!

Figure 20. Hidden patterns revealed under UV light, from BBC.com, by Klaus Schmitt, retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-11971274

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-11971274

It’s electric!

Opposites Attract!

Flowers are slightly NEGATIVE

Bees appendages are slightly POSITIVE

Electrostatic Interaction! Pollen grains “stick” to the bees!

Bees are actually aware of the charge and forage accordingly. Flowers adjust negative charges based on foraging activity.

Figure 18. Honey bee, from BugGuide,

by Charles Schurch Lewallen, 2013,

https://bugguide.net/node/view/804196

http://www.npr.org/2013/02/22/172611866/honey-its-electric-bees-sense-charge-on-flowers

Pollinator Habitat
Why it Matters

The following slides were provided to the Kankakee County SWCD by Jason Bleich, Conservation Specialist for Pheasants Forever. https://www.pheasantsforever.org/

Vital to Wildlife

Native pollinator mixes provide important habitat for wildlife.

2014 low for Monarch populations…

Pollination

Nearly 90% of all flowering plants and 35% of all crops rely on pollinators!

Essential to human health, global food webs, and agriculture!

Harvesting Honey

Photos are from Emilie Janes’ bee colony.

Critically Important to Agriculture

No Pollinators = No Produce!

A World Without Pollinators…

…is a world without…

Chocolate

Pumpkin carving, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie

Apples

Almonds

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries

Peaches

Sweet potatoes

Watermelon

Mustard

Garlic

And SO MUCH MORE!

The video was filmed and produced by Emilie Janes, RC for the Kankakee County Soil and Water Conservation District. She filmed all footage used in a single afternoon, in a 10-acre CP-42 pollinator habitat field located in Limestone Township in Kankakee County, IL. Read more about the CRP, CP-42 conservation program here: https://www.kankakeecountyswcd.org/pollinator-habitat-seed

The video showcases the biodiversity that native pollinator habitat cultivates. Species in the video are listed below.

Flowering Plants (11 total)

Gray-headed coneflower

Wild bergamot

Annual fleabane

Swamp milkweed

Common milkweed

False sunflower

Blue vervain

Small yellow flower sp. (unidentified)

Horse nettle

Queen Anne’s Lace

Purple coneflower

Sedge and grass sp.

Insects (14 total)

Ant sp.

Bumblebee sp.

Honeybee

Widow Skimmer dragonfly

Grasshopper sp.

Monarch butterfly

Swallowtail caterpillar

Eastern Amberwing dragonfly

Dragonfly sp. (unidentified)

Thread-waisted wasp sp.

Great Golden Digger wasp

Sweat bee sp.

Longhorn Milkweed beetle

Goldenrod Soldier beetle

Birds (2 species)

Dickcissel

Red-winged blackbird

Pollinators & Agriculture
Farmers give back…

If you build it, they will come…

2008 Farm Bill

Legislation recognizes the importance of pollinators…

Mandates that conservation programs be used to restore and/or manage habitat for pollinators.

https://xerces.org/pollinators-in-the-farm-bill/

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

As of 7/5/2017, of the 895,540.4 CRP acres in Illinois, 87,688.32 acres are enrolled in practice CP-42 “Pollinator Habitat”.

approximately 10%

Low Yields = CRP Opportunities

Farmers are able to plant CP-42 pollinator habitat in parts of their fields that produce low yields.

Hard-To-Farm Areas

Farmers are able to plant CP-42 pollinator habitat in hard-to-farm areas like sand hills (many in Kankakee County!) and ponded areas.

CRP CP-42 is a 10 year commitment. It takes time and management for the habitat to reach its climax!

IDOT initiatives: http://www.idot.illinois.gov/home/monarch

What can I do to make a difference?

Citizen Science – Monarch Watch, Bee Spotter, etc.

https://www.kankakeecountyswcd.org/teaching-resources-citizen-science

iNaturalist – app and website at https://www.inaturalist.org/

Planting Pollinator Habitat and Butterfly Gardens

Educate!

PHONE: (815) 937-8940 ext. 3

EMAIL: Emilie.Janes@il.nacdnet.net

WEBSITE: www.kankakeecountyswcd.org

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/K3SWCD/

References

The Farmer, the Pollinator and You - Google Slides