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A bumble bee gathers pollen from milkweed.

Pollinator wings can be tiny like on a sweat bee or large like on a luna moth. They can be colorful like a monarch or drab like a fruit fly. Their wings are all fragile however, and so much of life depends on them.

Plants and insects form the foundation of the food chain. Insects are one of nature’s main delivery systems for pollen, share naturalists from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

They are sort of like mailmen going from house to house picking up and dropping off mail and packages. They carry pollen from plant to plant so that fruit and seeds can develop. So, pollinators are very important for food production for wildlife and humans. The other way that pollinators help with the food chain is by serving as food themselves. Many animals such as birds, frogs, and bats depend on insects as their main food source.

So those delicate wings support much of nature and ourselves. Life without them is unimaginable.

"We need to be aware of not only their important role but also of the fact that insect populations are falling in recent years. Your initial reaction may be 'good, fewer mosquito bites is really good news' but think of the consequences. Without pollination the grocery store shelves would be empty and not just the produce section. The dairy and meat sections would be impacted also because cattle depend on feed that has been pollinated. Worldwide the food situation would be dire for all living things," states a release.

Pollinator Week, the third week of June, reminds everyone how important pollinators are. It doesn’t matter if they are bees, beetles, flies, butterflies, moths or even bats. They have a vital role in our survival.

To help out:

•Learning more about nature and how all of us are connected to plants and insects. Check out a book from the library on pollinators. Look at the Missouri Department of Conversation for information about pollinators and ways you can help.

•Respect insects and all wild animals. Enjoy looking at them but do not touch! Insects will not bite or sting you if you leave them alone.

• You can provide a safe home for pollinators in your own yard, plant flowers that are native to our area. They provide shelter and food for a host of wildlife.

• Try to avoid chemical sprays in your yard and home. Many times, sprays kill more than the species it is intended for.

If you would like more information about Pollinator Week there are resources at: pollinagtor.org; mostateparks.com/national-pollinator-week; and www.xerces.org/

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