How much do you know about birds and bees (and other pollinators)?

bees on flowers
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Life across the globe depends on bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators. Test your knowledge about these vital creatures.

Question 1 of 10

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Flower with pollen
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Which of these animals is a pollinator?

You may be surprised to learn that pollinators include many animal species, such as those listed here as well as moths, wasps and even lizards.

Question 2 of 10

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bumblebees at flowers
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How many species of bees are pollinators?

There are about 25,000 different bee species found all over the world. Around 4,000 of them are native to the United States. All of them are pollinators.

Question 3 of 10

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bat with flowers
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Which of these crops is pollinated by bats?

Bats are important pollinators of many crops, from the fruits and vegetables in the produce section of grocery stores to tequila (made from agave), coffee, cocoa and other foods we all enjoy. Over 300 species of fruit depend on bats for pollination. Without pollinators, humans have very little to eat.

Question 4 of 10

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honey beekeeper
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The honey bee, most famous of pollinators, is native to North America.

Honey bees were brought to North America from Europe. As Tom Turpin, Professor of Entomology at Purdue University, writes "Prior to the arrival of the Old World settlers, honey bees were unknown to Native Americans. In fact, several early American writers, including Thomas Jefferson, reported that honey bees were called 'white man's flies.' The name was recognition that the appearance of honey bees in America was associated with the arrival of the Europeans."

Question 5 of 10

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butterfly on flowers
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What percentage of all flowering plants are pollinated by animals?

While some flowers can utilize the wind to pollinate, the overwhelming majority of flower species need pollinators to survive. According to Xerces Society, “The ecological service [pollinators] provide is necessary for the reproduction of over 85% of the world’s flowering plants, including more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species."

Question 6 of 10

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crops with bee hives.
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How many crops are dependent on pollinators in the U.S.?

According to the Xerces Society, "The United States alone grows more than 100 crops that either need or benefit from pollinators, and the economic value of these native pollinators is estimated at $3 billion per year in the U.S."

Question 7 of 10

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hummingbird on flower
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Why is pollination important?

Pollination is the way that plants reproduce. "Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther (male part) of a flower to the stigma (female part) of a flower. The transfer of compatible pollen results in fertilization and the formation of seeds," according to the University of Minnesota. During this reproduction, fruits, seeds and other edible plant parts are made, so both plants and countless other creatures benefit.

Question 8 of 10

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ladybug on flower
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What is causing the global decline of pollinators?

Ongoing research around the planet shows that, worldwide, pollinators are under a wide range of threats including habitat loss, non-native species creating competition or bringing disease, the broad use of pesticides, and more.

Question 9 of 10

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Ravenala madagascariensis known as traveller's tree or traveller's palm
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What is the largest pollinator in the world?

Ruffed lemurs are the largest of the lemurs and they are the main pollinators of traveler’s palm (pictured here) in Madagascar. The USDA Forest Service writes, "The lemurs use their nimble hands to pull open the tough flower bracts. They stick their long snouts and tongues deep inside a tree's flower. As a result, they collect pollen on their muzzle and fur, and then transport it to the next flower."

Question 10 of 10

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cottage garden
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Which is the best way to attract pollinators to your yard?

People with gardens can plant native species, and meanwhile, people living in apartments can also attract and feed pollinators by planting a window box of native flowering plants or even vegetables. Be sure to avoid chemicals and use only natural organic pesticides and fertilizers to help keep the visiting pollinators safe and healthy. Check out this list of pollinator-friendly plants by region.

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