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Northeast Regional Reports

Types of Pollinators at Work in the Garden

These pollinator species are the backbone of your garden’s ecosystem

This hummingbird moth pollinates a browallia (Browallia americana, annual). Photo: Kristin Green.

Come August, we gardeners are allowed a break. It’s too hot and generally too dry to plant; the weeds slow down, and deadheading is optional. But even as we abandon the garden for a stack of summer reading, pollinators keep working at our plants, storing food for winter and tanking up for migration.

Honeybees are nonnatives but highly valued for being efficient food-crop pollinators, easily domesticated, and gracious about sharing surplus honey. Individuals will sting to protect their hive, but swarms that split from overcrowded colonies are docile until they find a new home. If not captured and rehoused by beekeepers, honeybees will construct wild hives in hollow trees and sometimes, inconveniently, within building walls.

bumblebee on dill plant
A bumblebee enjoys the flowers of a dill plant. Photo: Kathryn Geruntho Frank.

Bumblebees are actually superior pollinators because they can contract their flight muscles to dislodge sticky pollen. Thank bumbles for buzz pollinating…

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