This week, July 21-27, was designated by the USDA as national pollinator week, and there are events and classes highlighting the important work these insects do for us all around the country.  I’ve been chattering about it to anyone who I think will listen here.  This is a picture of a pollinator I found on the tree saplings we are giving this year in SosteNica’s Reforestation Project in Nagarote, Nicaragua:

It’s a fantastic week here to celebrate.  The rainy season started enough time ago that the caterpillars have had time to eat their fill, metamorphasize, and emerge and pollinators instead of pests.  Wasps have begun building nests on the underside of leaves which have emerged in the last month, and many of the crops that were seeded with the first rains are flowering right now.

Did you know

– The main cocoa pollinator responsible for producing all our chocolate is a midge fly that is smaller than a pinhead.

– There are 200,000 species of pollinators, including insects, bats, hummingbirds, and even small mammals such as mice.

– US farmland is disappearing at an alarming rate of 3,000 acres a day.  When farmland is converted to industry or residencies, the amount of native pollinators available to pollinate the remaining farmland drops and can negatively affect yeilds.

– In the US, managed pollination such as beekeeping results in an estimated benefit of $20 billion annually in the agricultural industry.