Human Impacts


Why are pollinators in trouble?

Pollinators are tough little critters, but some human activities are making them weak, sick, and even killing them. Where are these threats coming from? Here are a few of the many examples we know about...


Pesticides & Herbicides

Pesticides are poisonous chemicals designed to keep insects from damaging plants. Herbicides are poisonous chemicals designed to kill "weeds".

More and more, people are spraying these on farms, lawns, gardens, trees, and other places where they want to kill bugs and weeds. Unfortunately, these poisons also hurt the good insects that help plants grow, including pollinators. Or they kill the "weeds" (many of which are host plants) that caterpillars need to eat in order to become butterflies.

Loss of Habitat

The ecosystems pollinators prefer are natural spaces where native flowers, tall grasses, shrubs, and trees grow. When we change those natural spaces by constructing buildings, creating parking lots and roads, or establishing large fields of mowed grass and lawns, we take away the plants that pollinators depend on.

This loss of habitat means that the native plants that pollinators need in order to grow, eat, and survive are harder for them to find.

Air & Light Pollution

Many pollinators use their sense of smell to find the flowers that provide their vital energy source - pollen and nectar. Competing odors from air pollution makes this sensory adaptation challenging.

Other pollinators that feed primarily at night (like bats and moths) can become confused by the artificial light we have created, becoming disoriented in their search for flowers.

Invader Species

Invasive species, or species of plants, animals, parasites, and diseases that are not native to a region and have been introduced to an area through human activity, can become a threat to native species. These invaders often don't have predators that keep them in check. They compete with native species for space, food, and other resources.

Climate Change

Climate change is causing climate and seasonal patterns to change. Seasonal patterns determine important things like when flowers bloom, when animals migrate, and when eggs hatch. But if seasons are irregular and patterns become disrupted, this can negatively impact pollinators.

Accidental Harm

Recall a time that you did something or made a decision that caused more harm or trouble than you expected. What happened? What did you learn from that experience?

Investigate & Ponder

We have learned a lot about pollinators in general. Let's explore which pollinators need help near you!