On the cusp of summer, the air is full of buzzing and humming. It’s the sound of life, of the bees, beetles, flies and numerous other champions of the insect world who keep humans alive.
These are the tiny creatures that pollinate plants, including the food crops that the whole of humanity relies on season-in, season-out. The fact insects have been doing this for us for tens of thousands of years indicates they are pretty good at it, despite humans’ best efforts at times to eliminate them.
To help people better understand the role of insect pollinators, we now have from 11 November to 19 November Australian Pollinator Week.
Most people know that bees – both European honey bees and our tiny native bees – are plant pollinators. But they are just a couple of the numerous insect species that are also crucial to the plant fertility cycles that produce seeds and fruits.
The nine-day festival to remind us of our entomological debt is the inspiration of Australian native bee specialist Dr Megan Halcroft. “If we look after insect pollinators by increasing floral diversity and reducing chemical use, we’re looking after everything else,” she says.
It’s called the web of life!
Australian Pollinator Week began in 2015 and is now widely embraced by schools, community groups, farmers’ markets, Rotary clubs and Landcare groups all getting involved, to recognise and celebrate the critical role of pollinators.
So this summer, be kind to insects. Try not to tread on them, swot, spray or fear them. Just enjoy their buzz.
To learn more about Australian Pollinator Week, including the Australian Pollinator Count, check out: www.australianpollinatorweek.org.au/count
You might also like this short Coretext video shot a few years ago for Hort Innovation on research into the role of native bees as crop pollinators.