Learn about the role of pollinators during National Pollinator Week

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Next week, Virginia and the nation will be focusing on the role that pollinators play in the environment and agriculture, as well as how people can help protect them.

Governor Ralph Northam has declared June 17 through 23 will be Virginia Pollinator Week, coinciding with National Pollinator Week.

"Bee populations, as well as the populations of other pollinators such as birds, butterflies, bats and beetles, are declining dramatically. For honey bees alone, this decline is between 30 to 40 percent each year," said Keith Tignor, State Apiarist with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "Other bee populations are on the decline, such as the rusty patch bumblebee, which was recently placed on the federal endangered species list. Without adequate pollinations, Virginia could experience a significant reduction in its harvest of apples, alfalfa, berries, cucumbers, melons, squash, peaches and pumpkins."

VDACS says honey bees are necessary for the health of the agricultural economy across the country because they enable the production of at least 90 commercially grown crops.

In Virginia, they pollinate about one-third of the state's fruit and vegetable crops.

People interested in attracting pollinators can do some things to help protect and increase the populations of pollinators.

They can plant flowers in a variety of colors and shapes in gardens, window boxes or hanging baskets or setting up refreshment stations in the garden where a shallow bowl contains water or sugar water and marbles for bees to stand on.

They can also support local beekeepers by buying local honey or by becoming a beekeeper themselves and setting up their own hive.

For more tips, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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