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We spend a lot of time talking about how important bees and butterflies are to pollinating plants, but they aren’t the only ones who help! In fact, there are a lot of other insects to play a role in pollination, too! Let’s meet some of these unexpected pollinators. You can also click here to learn more about native gardening!
Believe it or not, beetles are also pollinators! Some beetles, like the bumble flower beetle, feed on nectar, pollen, and the juices of rotting fruits. Like bees, as they make their way from flower to flower, they spread pollen along the way. We’ve seen these beetles near the Nature Museum. Even beetles that primarily eat other insects help pollinate plants. They use flowers as a hunting ground for food and help spread pollen in the process.
Guiding Question: What do you notice about the bumble flower beetle? Why do you think it has that name? Do you think its coloring helps it survive?
Did you know that flies help with pollination, too? Some flies, like hover flies, actually feed on nectar and pollen, much like bees! Although they are not as fuzzy as bees, the pollen does stick to their bodies and makes its way from flower to flower, helping the plants reproduce. Some flies are responsible for pollinating one plant in particular. The chocolate midge is the only pollinator of the cocoa tree. They help make chocolate!
Guiding Question: What do you notice about the hover fly? Does it remind you of another insect or several insects? Why do you think it looks like that? How might it help the hover fly?
Although wasps, like paper wasps, are primarily carnivores (they eat other insects), they do also feed on nectar from flowers. They’re not as effective as bees, but they do assist in pollinating a variety of plants.
Guiding Question: Compare these wasps to the bees we’ve talked about before. How are they similar? How are they different? In their appearance? Their behavior? Their diet?
Make an insect
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We’ve explored some cool insects, now it’s your turn to make your own! Click here for our instructions on how to use recyclables to make your own cool creature.
Teaching Tip: Expand your crafting materials by looking at nature. How can a leaf or a shell add a new element to your creature?
Behind the scenes!
Weren’t able to join us for our vermi-composting webinar last week? Don’t worry, you can check it out on demand on our YouTube channel!