Pollinators vs. Non-Pollinators

Pollinators vs. Non-Pollinators

Pollination is simply the transfer of plant pollen to a female species of a plant. It is essential for maintaining healthy crops and plant growth since it is the only way many species become fertilized. 

Nearly a thousand plants we depend on for food or medicine require pollination. While hand pollination is possible on a small scale, it most commonly occurs by insects or other small animals.


Pollinators vs. Non-Pollinators - Is there such a thing?

In determining whether an insect or animal is considered a pollinator, you have to look at its normal behaviors and food sources. Pretty much all insects in some way aid pollination, but some help out more than others. 

The categories truly break down to beneficial pollinators vs. less beneficial pollinators. A great example of this might be a honey bee vs. a Japanese beetle. 

Essential Pollinators

When it comes to pollinators, you tend to think about the insects and other animals that are the primary drivers of pollination. They generally have no or minor downsides to cohabitation and are therefore widely considered not to be pests. Essential pollinators that do the bulk of pollination around our homes and gardens include: 

  • Solitary bees and bumblebees: The poster child of pollination is the humble bee. These specialists are made to collect and transfer pollen from a large variety of plants. Bees tend to be very unaggressive about territory, and many are entirely stingless.
  • Butterflies: The most visually striking of pollinators, butterflies are the primary pollinators for many of our favorite vegetable crops and herbs. Most active during the day, they can be attracted to your home by planting flowering plants like yarrow, alyssum, and milkweed.
  • Moths: The butterfly's nocturnal counterpart for pollination is the moth. These nighttime fliers prefer fragrant flowers. If you see them outside at dusk and nighttime, they aren't a pest. Clothes moths that eat natural fibers are a different species entirely.

Common Pests That Help With Pollination

Bumblebees, moths, and butterflies aren't the only ones helping keep the plant side of our ecosystems healthy. There are several insects we might generally think of as pests that help pollinate plants. If you have a flower or vegetable garden, you have probably seen most of these crawling or buzzing around.

  • Wasps: They may not pollinate as much as their bee counterparts, but these voracious hunters also help keep insects that are harmful to crops at bay. Wasps are, however, potentially aggressive if disturbed and can carry a painful sting. If you can cohabitate with a wasp nest, it can be fantastic for your garden, but removal for safety is often necessary.
  • Flies: Often overlooked until they land on your face or in your drink, the fly is a massive driver of pollination. They favor cool, shaded spaces with a bit of water and are most at home in orchards. But you will still find them hard at work around wildflowers or vegetable gardens.
  • Beetles: While some beetles are pests (looking at you, Japanese beetles) that can pose risks to plants, most are beneficial to pollination and plant health. Ladybirds, Soldiers, and fireflies can all help pollinate flowers and feed on other harmful insects.
  • Mosquitoes: It is hard to argue with getting rid of mosquitos due to their capacity to transmit many deadly bloodborne diseases. They do, however, help with pollination. Females only drink blood when fertilized, and otherwise, both males and females prefer nectar. And moving flower to flower, drinking up, transfers a little pollen around.

Given some of the downsides of living near many of the insects above, they are pests. But the fact that they benefit the environment means removal strategies should be carefully considered. 

A scorched earth approach with chemicals might immediately rid you of a problem, but it will also remove other essential pollinators or species that help manage pest populations naturally.

Pest Control and Pollinators

The problem with pollinators worldwide is that they are disappearing. Loss of habitat, chemical misuse in gardening agriculture and pest management, disease, and invasive species have all chipped away at the health of populations everywhere. 

In just the past decade, the United States is estimated to have lost over half of its managed honey bees. Those are the ones we actively see and manage.

This alarming population decline is why you now see a focused effort in pest control to protect and maintain the beneficial insects of our ecosystems. This doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to remove unwanted insects; instead, the methods used are selected to cause as little collateral damage and utilize more natural means. This approach is Integrated Pest Management.

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management is a control method that takes a more holistic approach to manage pests in and around our homes. It aims to find and apply the most effective, safest, and minimally impactful solution. It focuses on identification, non-invasive management, and careful control. Chemical approaches are only used as the last step.

Implementing a more environmentally friendly approach to pest control protects the immediate health of our homes and gardens and supports the long-term health of the area. It removes the pest but leaves beneficial actors in place. And this style of pest management isn’t just for pest control companies; there are many steps homeowners can take on their own.

If you can remove sources of water, food, and easy access, you have lessened the chance that bugs or rodents will target your home for infestation. 

Local Experts

In western North Carolina, you don’t have to look far for fast, effective, and environmentally friendly pest control. Rid-A-Bug Exterminating has been the trusted professional for taking care of pest and wildlife problems since 1972. 

If you have a pest problem of your own, let us help. We get results and take keeping the environment healthy in and around your home seriously, with LEED Certified Treatments that focus on Integrated Pest Management and non-chemical solutions to treat the problem.  

Call us at 1-800-682-5901, or fill out our online contact form. We cover a wide service area, and with weekend and evening services available, we will work to get you seen as quickly as possible to minimize damage to your home or health.