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National Pollinator Week celebrates bees, beetles, bats and butterflies

In the eyes of gardeners, butterflies and other pollinators are increasingly important.
In the eyes of gardeners, butterflies and other pollinators are increasingly important.
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

National Pollinator Week, observed June 16 to 22 across the United States, celebrates the crucial work of bees and beetles, bats and butterflies.

National Pollinator Week gives each of us the opportunity to look at our landscapes and make the best choices on what we plant in order to build our ecosystem rather than create a drain on it,” said Kristen Fefes, executive director for the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC). The ALCC joined PLANET, the national trade association for the landscape and lawn care industry, in observing the week praising pollinations.

Pollinators are a key player in enhancing our urban ecosystem and making our landscapes more productive, purposeful and sustainable,” Fefes said.

The ALCC reported that bees pollinate more than 16 percent of flowering plant species in yards, landscapes, and parks in communities across the nation. Bees are critical for many food crops.

Bats, beetles, moths, hummingbirds and butterflies also serve as important pollinators. Currently, Denver Botanic Gardens and Butterfly Pavilion’ are collaborating on an exhibit titled “Butterflies at Chatfield.” The exhibition features native butterflies and the plants they feed on both as caterpillars and as adults.

According to the ALCC, gardeners have a growing awareness of the importance of planting for pollinators. To help pollinators survive, the ALCC recommends adding pollinator-friendly plants to landscapes.

“Bees prefer blue, yellow or bright white flowers that have a large landing service and a shallow shape,” said Fefes. “Colorado's own Plant Select® offers many excellent plants that attract pollinators. They recommend plants that are well-suited to our altitude and often harsh growing conditions.”
Gardeners can assist pollinators by planting a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the growing season to provide continual pollinating opportunities. Native plants prove especially important to pollinators because the flowers are a familiar food source to local pollinators.

Butterflies, bats and beetles generally don’t pose problems, but bees can sting. Bees, however, typically do not sting unless provoked because they can only sting once, and they die after they sting. To increase safety for bees and people, the ALCC recommends planting bee-attracting plants away from doors, walkways and frequently used outdoor living areas.

••• "Cultivate your corner of the world.
You grow your garden; your garden grows you." •••

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