The Pollinators are Here

The cherry trees are abuzz with insect activity. As one of the earliest flowers around my house, the cherry trees offer an early source of nectar to pollinating insects.

Cherry_blossoms_20150423_64

Insects represent 80% of the world’s species. There are over 900,000 species of insects. Worldwide, many scientists agree there are more unnamed insects than named. There may be 200 million insects for every human on the planet.1 Another way to look at that is 300 pounds of insect for every person!2

While pollination is a well known relationship between plant and animal, insect herbivory on plants might be overlooked (unless you are fighting earwigs, or some other insect in your garden), but insects may account for up to 80% of plant herbivory in terrestrial ecosystems. Only 10-35% is consumed by the grazing vertebrates we most often think of such as, cattle, sheep, deer, elk, moose, mice, rabbits, turtles, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, birds, etc.3

 

1 New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/1991/02/18/movies/what-s-creepy-crawly-and-big-in-movies-bugs.html
2 Smithsonian Institute http://www.si.edu/encyclopedia_si/nmnh/buginfo/bugnos.htm
3 Price, P.W. 1979. Insect Ecology, 3rd Ed. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

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