Tag: pollinators (Page 1 of 2)

Celebrating #PollinatorWeek 2021

Let’s get ready to celebrate Pollinator Week.

Reading children’s books is great way to learn more about pollinators. Afterwards, do some of the activities suggested below.

But first, what is pollination and what is a pollinator?

Pollination is an essential process that allows plants to grow healthy fruit and seeds. Scientifically, pollination occurs when pollen (the colorful powdery dust) is moved from male part (anther) of a flower to the female part (stigma) of the same or another flower.

A pollinator carries the pollen from flower to flower so that pollination happens. Although when we hear the word “pollinator” we generally think of bees, many different animals act as pollinators.

Children’s books:

In No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart, Allen Young, and illustrated by Nicole Wong young readers learn that cacao trees need the help of a menagerie of rain forest critters to survive: a pollen-sucking midge (previous post), an aphid-munching anole lizard, and brain-eating coffin fly maggots. Reviewed at Wrapped in Foil.

In Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate by Sara Levine and illustrated by Masha D’yans a snarky purple cactus narrator explains why plants “talk” to animals via their flowers and how they entice the animals to carry their pollen from place to place.

POLLEN: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction by Darcy Pattison and illustrated by Peter Willis reveals how long it may take for science to find an answer to a problem. In 1862, naturalist Charles Darwin received a box of orchids. When he saw one of the flowers, the Madagascar star orchid, he wondered how insects could pollinate it, and he made some predictions that it was a moth.

Fast forward 130 years. In 1992, German entomologist, Lutz Thilo Wasserthal, Ph.D. traveled to Madagascar. By then, the moths were rare. He managed to capture two moths and released them in a cage with the orchid. Would they pollinate the orchid as Darwin had predicted?

Although it is more about who and what eats flies, 13 Ways to Eat a Fly by Sue Heavenrich and illustrated by David Clark features some flies that pollinate plants (previous review).

A Place for Butterflies by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond showcases twelve North American butterflies―from the familiar eastern tiger swallowtail to the rare Palos Verdes blue butterfly―and the ecosystems that support their survival.

A Place for Bats by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond features twelve types of North American bats, from the familiar little brown bat to the Mexican free-tailed bat.

 

Related Activities

Disclosure:  One of the books mentioned above was provided by the publisher. The rest were from the library or are my personal copies. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Bug of the Week: Helping Pollinators With Flowers

Given all that is going on in the world these days, you might not have noticed an article about insect populations undergoing “death by a thousand cuts.” (Scientific article in PNASAP article carried by various outlets). Essentially, the authors have gathered 12 studies written by 56 scientists around the world showing that insect numbers are in decline.

What to do? Go out and see some insects, of course.

Even though it has been relatively cold, plus dry to the extreme, we still have bees in the desert marigold flowers.

The pollen baskets on her back legs are packed with pollen, which she is carrying from flower to flower. What bits of pollen that dribble off will pollinate the next flower she visits.

This week the honey bees prefer the fairy dusters and the rosemary plants, both of which are flowering as well. The fairy duster flower is unusual — a puffy cluster of anthers.

The bottom line is that one way to help pollinators is to plant a diversity of flowers, especially native ones.

Do you plan to plant flowers this year?

#WorldBeeDay Hands- On STEAM Activities

Melissodes trinodus bee

May 20 is World Bee Day, but we can celebrate bees any day with hands-on STEAM activities.

1. Visit the World Bee Day website for detailed information about the importance of bees (and other pollinators). Look for why the organizers chose May 20 for the date. The right sidebar contains many links to other informative websites, including the beautifully designed and engaging Buzzing with Life.

2. Tohono Chul Gardens has put together an amazing collection of lessons about bees and other pollinators. Created to cover a week’s worth of activities, it includes instructions for gardening and art. If nothing else, download the bee homes activity (PDF).

3. To get a glimpse of the diversity of bees (and some other insects), check out the photographs at the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab Flickr page. Seriously. Click on the photographs to learn the scientific names of the bees and more about them. For example, our little long-horned bee in the photograph above is a Melissodes trinodus.

4. Make a honey bee model (previous Growing with Science post).

5. See our collection of honey bee science activities as well as all our posts in the bee category.

6. Visit our growing list of children’s books about bees at Science Books for Kids.

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