Minnesota's Pollinators

bee flying near purple flowers


In order to set seed and reproduce, many plant species rely on animal pollinators to move pollen from flower to flower. There are thousands of insect pollinator species in Minnesota, including over 500 species of native bees. Bees are the most efficient pollinators because their bodies are designed to collect and store pollen to feed to their young. Other flower visiting insects and hummingbirds incidentally move pollen among flowers as they forage.

Pollinators are integral parts of functioning environments. The plants they pollinate provide food and habitat for other animals, buffer waterways, and store carbon. Without pollinators, we would not have many nutritious fruits, vegetables, and nuts like blueberries, squash, and almonds. Pollinator conservation provides economic benefits through improved crop pollination, and intrinsic value in beautiful, flowering landscapes.

Pollinator Decline

Minnesota’s pollinators face challenges on many fronts, including habitat loss, pesticides, climate change, diseases, and parasites. Some native species, like the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) and Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae), have experienced drastic declines in population and distribution. Several Minnesota insect pollinator species have been listed as threatened, endangered, or species of concern, but for many others we lack data on population trends.

Pollinators and the Minnesota DNR

The Minnesota DNR helps pollinators by:

How you can help pollinators

You can help pollinators by:

  • Planting a variety of flowers native to your area that bloom in the spring, summer, and fall.
  • Providing nesting sites by allowing dead branches, stems, and logs to remain, and leaving bare earth for ground-nesting insects.
  • Reducing the use of pesticides.
  • Allowing native flowering plants to grow along roadsides and drainage ditches.
  • Becoming a community scientist to help researchers collect data about pollinators and their habitats.
  • Telling your friends and family about pollinators and how to help them!
General Pollinator Information
Pollinator-friendly Planting Resources
Community Science Opportunities
Wild Bee Identification

Questions about Pollinators

Christina Locke, Pollinator Conservation Coordinator, 651-259-5074

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