Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male organ to the female organ of the flower. It occurs when pollinating insects land on flowers while they are searching for food, transferring the pollen within the flower and from one flower to another.

Bees are excellent pollinators. They easily collect pollen due to special hairs on their legs.  The honey bee is a well-known domesticated species that was first introduced from Europe. Wild bees, however, originated in Canada and are mainly solitary and do not live in colonies.  There are currently more than 700 species of wild bees in Canada.  There are also other pollinating insects, such as bumble bees, wasps, butterflies and syrphid flies.

Pollinating insects contribute to biodiversity by increasing the productivity and diversity of plants. For example, in agriculture, they boost crop yields by increasing the quantity and the quality of the harvested products. In fact, some plant species depend entirely on pollinating insects for their reproduction.

Unfortunately, the number of pollinators is decreasing at an alarming rate. The global decline of honey bees in particular has caused an outrage around the world, as numerous colonies have collapsed. The decline of pollinators can be explained by several factors, mainly the use of certain pesticides, the destruction of habitats, single-crop farming, climate change and the presence of diseases and parasites.

Here are several actions you can take to help pollinators in your yard or garden:

  1. Stop using pesticides and instead use organic or mechanical methods to get rid of pests.
  2. Plant a wide range of flowering plants around your property and leave areas of your yard to grow naturally.
  3. Leave some areas of your yard mulch-free so bees can nest there.
  4. Leave out a bowl of water with stones in it so bees can come and drink.
  5. Install insect hotels so that bees can take shelter.