What are pollinators?

New Mexico is the home to more than three hundred species of butterflies and around one thousand species of bees. Have you seen any of these unique individuals on your plants?

Bees, butterflies, wasps, flies and beetles are all hard-working pollinators. Bats, birds and some animals also perform pollination services, but insects are by far the most important pollinators, doing the vast majority of the pollination work required to keep the world's plants blooming and fruiting. Most people associate the European or Asian Honeybees with doing the majority of pollination, but our native insects do the lion's share of pollinating native plants and many cultivated food and flower crops. Honeybees account for only a small fraction of the more than 20,000 species of bees in the world. There are approximately 3,600 native species of insect pollinators in the United States, and New Mexico has about 1/3 of those as residents! With those numbers, you can see why our native pollinators are so important for getting the work done.

NMSU Native NM pollinator species list

Center for Biological Diversity: Why native pollinators matter

Ecology & Evolution: The foraging habits of honeybees and native pollinating bees

Applied Ecology Summary on Southwest Native Bees