What Happens if Our Pollinators Die?

Last monthwe discussed the reasons why so many of our major pollinators are dying. For honeybees, it’s because of Colony Collapse Disorder, which itself remains somewhat of a mystery. For bumbles, butterflies, and other pollinator species, however, it’s largely due to loss of habitat, the use of harmful pesticides, changing climate conditions, and more. 

With so many pollinators suffering, it’s important that we take action. Despite massive decreases in pollinator populations over the past 50 years, our dependence on pollinators has increased by 300%. Today, they’re responsible for contributing $24 billion in the US alone. What would happen if they suddenly weren’t around anymore? Would we simply lose $24 billion every year?  

The truth is, it could actually be much worse. 

A World Without Pollinators 

Currently, honeybees handle around 80% of crop pollination. If they continue to decline at the rate they have been, they could be extinct by 2035. If that happened, we’d lose most of the plants they’re responsible for pollinating. Crops such as blueberries and cherries are currently 90% dependent on honeybees. In the case of almonds, they’re exclusively pollinated by honeybees.  

Without honeybees, many popular crops would disappear off store shelves entirely. What remains would go up significantly in price. To offset this, industry experts are pushing for an increase in pollinator diversity. Bumblebees and other native bees are capable of pollinating virtually any crop that honeybees can, including almonds.  

Unfortunately, many of these species are facing extinction as well. If things don’t change, there is a very real possibility of honeybees, bumblebees, monarch butterflies, and more all disappearing from the planet. Should that happen, grocery stores would have about half as many fruits and vegetables available. 

Of course, it’s not just fruits and vegetables that would be affected. We’d also lose honey, nuts, spices, popular flowers, and more. Prices for remaining items would surge. Countless businesses (and possibly entire industries) would struggle to turn a profit as supplies dry up. Though it’s unlikely we’d experience a nationwide famine, human nutrition and health would ultimately suffer.  

It’s also worth mentioning that pollinators serve other purposes beyond benefitting agriculture and the economy. They act as a vital food source for other animals. Their absence would cause a ripple effect that could see other species of animals die out. Many pollinators, especially butterflies, also serve as cultural symbols, pieces of education, artistic inspiration, and more. 

A world without the teeming life of pollinators and the vibrant colors of the flowers they nurture would certainly be a lesser world. 

What Can Be Done? 

It’s best that we never find out what a world without pollinators would look like. Thankfully, there are a number of actions that can be taken to encourage pollinator diversity and help their populations thrive. For farmers and landowners, enrolling land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is one of the most effective options available. Not only can farmers receive market-based rental payments for establishing pollinator habitat, but they can directly enjoy the positive effects of an increased pollinator presence 

If you’re enrolling in CRP, and you want to make sure to maximize the effectiveness of your pollinator habitat, All Native Seed can help. Our pollinator seed offerings meet all the necessary requirements for a quality pollinator mixsuch as including at least three different colors for each bloom period. For the purest CRP seed with the highest germination rates, you can trust in All Native Seed. Click here to browse our offers or to upload a mix developed by NRCS. 

For any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at 888-224-2004 or quote@allnativeseed.com.