Before we can take steps to help pollinators on a global and local level, we have to understand what pollinators have in common with one another.
Good pollinators have several traits in common. They:
- travel from flower to flower with ease,
- have hairs, scales, or feathers that “catch” pollen grains,
- have specialized mouth parts for collecting nectar.
Not all pollinators are attracted to the same types of flowers/plants.
- Hummingbirds are attracted to tubular-shaped flowers with no distinct odor. They prefer scarlet, orange, red, or white.
- Bats are attracted to dull white, green or purple flowers. These flowers emit odors at night. The odors are strong and musty.
- Bees head for bright white, yellow or blue flowers. They also prefer flowers with contrasting ultraviolet patterns with fresh, mild, or pleasant odor.
- Flies like green, white, or cream flowers with little odor. They’re also fans of brown and purple flowers that smell pretty darned bad.
- Butterflies head for bright red and purple flowers. These flowers have a fresh, slight odor.
- Moths are attracted to pale red, purple, pink or white flowers with a strong, sweet odor at night.
- Beetles head for white or green flowers with a variety of odors that vary from none at all to strongly fruity or downright foul.