Creating habitat and helping bees during "Pollinator Week"

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- During National Pollinator week many agriculture groups focus on expanding awareness about pollination through education.

Planting flowers in pot with dirt or soil at back yard

Each year from June 17-23, agriculture experts including in Wisconsin promote pollination education. "Pollination is basically the way that plants make food for us, for other animals, and it’s how they also complete their reproductive cycles," says Erin Nyhus, Greenhouse Manager at Down to Earth Garden Center in Eau Claire.

In Wisconsin, native pollinators include butterflies, moths, flower flies, beetles, wasps, hummingbirds, and of course bees. "Wisconsin has a huge population of bees that really don't look like bees very much that are native almost only to Wisconsin and the upper Midwest, so that’s one thing that we need to in Wisconsin really help with because they're only here and they need to be protected," says Nyhus.

Wisconsin has 400 species of bees, including 20 bumble bee species. The DNR says populations of some pollinators in Wisconsin are in decline, with potential widespread implications. That’s why local experts are sharing ways you can create habitat for them and help monitor their populations. "Definitely one thing that everybody can help out with is reducing the use of their chemicals that is one thing that is hard and fast,” said Nyhus.

"The pollinators need really continuous areas of food and shelter and water so they need things like little bird baths or little bee baths put out for them so that they have access to fresh clean water...they need native species of plants that’s really important to them," says Nyhus.

Experts say raising awareness and educating people is the first step to becoming more environmentally friendly. Pollinator week helps.

Pollinators are crucial for the Wisconsin agricultural industry. The DNR says, without pollinators, many local growers would lose from 60 to 80 percent of their crop.