Blog of the Week: Pollinators Info

Athena Anderson

Athena Anderson from Pollinators.Info

Every Friday we feature a new site for our Blog of the Week. This week Athena Anderson of Pollinators.Info shares her passion for honey bees and other pollinators that need our help. Here’s what she has to say:

1. What’s the inspiration behind your blog?

I’ve been really surprised to learn how little most people know about pollinators as a group. When I tell people that I’m studying bees for my Ph.D., they assume I mean honey bees. Many are surprised to learn of the thousands of other bee species that pollinate our crops and wild plants. Every third bite of food we eat is made possible by bees, but it’s not always honey bees that make things happen. Like coffee? It’s pollinated by bees, but honey bees won’t do the job. In addition, I think most people don’t realize how important other groups of pollinating animals are for keeping our food supply diverse and our ecosystems reproducing. Anyone like chocolate? It’s pollinated by flies. How about figs? Wasps make those possible. Most wild flowering plants need an animal pollinator in order to reproduce. These are just a few examples of the beautiful and diverse world of animal pollinators, which I hope folks will enjoy learning about on the blog.

2. How long has your blog been around?

I launched the blog on May 13, 2011- so it’s still very young!

3. What’s your favorite backyard activity?

Here’s a surprise- gardening and watching wildlife! I love to just sit in nature, hear the wind in the trees, smell the flowers or a coming storm. I’ve been a naturalist since I could walk!

4. What’s one quirky thing about yourself we can share with our readers?

Just ONE quirk (hah, hah)? I’m writing a post-apocalyptic adventure novel!

5. What’s one of your favorite or most popular blog posts and why?

I did a weird little post about the comedian Eddie Izzard doing an impression of the honey bee communication dance that consistently gets traffic. I don’t know how people find it, because I don’t see it when I do a Google search. But, no complaints here! It’s a weird post because it’s only a few lines of text in which I tell people to visit Bug Girl’s blog to see the clip from Izzard’s show. I found the clip on her blog and I wanted to share some “link love” by directing my visitors to her post on it. Anyway, the clip is hilarious.

  1. Maxxi Katz says

    Bee-utiful Blog. I never thought much about pollinators until I read Barbara Kingsolver’s “Poisonwood Bible.” A Georgia Missionary family moves to Africa with local Georgia crop seed, which never produce because they lack the proper pollinators. I also like your Eddie Izzard reference. :) People around our area (Raleigh NC) are starting one hive apiaries in their yards. It’s pretty cool.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Maxxi! If you liked ‘Poisonwood Bible’, check out Kingsolver’s ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.’ I adore it! That’s great to hear people doing their own beekeeping, but don’t forget to help out the native bees too! :)

  2. says

    Great blog Athena, I just had a chance to review it. Good source of info about bees and other pollinators. I have kept a 20′X5′ bed of giant sunflowers the past several years and routinely have dozens of bees, birds when the seeds ripen, a few wasps and hummingbirds looking for small insects to meet their protein needs. Last year I had a number of cut leaf bees but fewer of them this year and more bumble bees. Do bee species wax and wane in productivity like say fruiting plants?

    • says

      Hi SeEtta, thanks for the question! Sunflowers are great for pollinators, especially if they’re a species/ variety native to your area. Indeed, bee populations fluctuate a lot from year to year. Their numbers can be affected by food and nest site availability, and whether they’ve been killed by pesticides or not. Leaf-cutter bees nest in wood, usually pithy stems, while bumble bees nest in insulated cavities like abandoned rodent burrows, holes in buildings, and leaf piles. Leaving “messy” areas of brush and decomposing wood on your property can be great for providing nesting sites for bees! :)

  3. Patti Shoupe says

    I have a question. I live in the Calif. mountains, and have an oriole feeder out, and it is covered in honey bees. They keep going in the sugar water, and cannot get out, they die in there, and others are all around the ports. Why are the bees going for my sugar water instead of all the wildflowers in the ajoining forest?

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