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Why Different Types of Pollinators—From Bees to Bats—Matter to Herb Production

Published on July 10, 2023

By Kristen Boye BS, Natural Health

Kristen Boye

Kristen Boye is a natural health expert, writer, copywriter, and editor. Kristen was raised on an organic farm in British Columbia which inspired her life’s work. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Health, is a Certified Natural Foods Chef, co-owner of a medicinal herb farm, and is a natural foods and children’s health advocate. Kristen lives with her husband and two children on their medicinal herb farm in Western North Carolina.
Why Different Types of Pollinators—From Bees to Bats—Matter to Herb Production
Why Different Types of Pollinators—From Bees to Bats—Matter to Herb Production

It’s National Pollinator Month, which means a lot to us as organic regenerative herb growers.

Gaia Herbs literally can only do what we do with pollinators. 

They are essential to the growth of several of our flagship herbs, including Echinacea, Vervain, Holy Basil, Ashwagandha, and more.

But bees aren’t the only pollinators we—and everyone else who enjoys food and herbs—rely on.

In this article, we’ll learn about other types of pollinators and how they impact herb growing and our food system.

What Are Pollinators?

Pollinators are different types of insects and animals that move pollen from plant to plant so that reproduction may occur.

Without pollinators, plants cannot produce their fruits, nuts, seeds, and flowers.

The pollen moved by pollinators contains the male reproductive seeds, which then meet the female seeds producing fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, nuts, seeds, etc.

How much do pollinators matter to our food system?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and approximately 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. REF#2244

That’s one out of every three bites of food you eat!

Some examples of these foods include:

  • Berries
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Various types of vegetables

Pollinators are responsible for nearly $20 billion worth of products annually in the United States alone.

Unfortunately, pollinators are under serious threat—meaning our food security is also under threat.

For example, Monarch butterfly populations have declined by 90% in the last 20 years, and 25% of bumble bees species are thought to be in severe decline. REF#2245

We’ll discuss more different types of pollinators and how you can help protect them from coming up.

How Do Pollinators Impact Herbs?

Pollinators share a fascinating symbiotic relationship with herbs, spices, and flowers—like those used in Gaia Herbs formulas.

Yes, pollinators are essential to the growth and development of certain herbal crops. 

Just spend a few moments in a field of ultra-fragrant Holy Basil, and you’ll see droves of bees moving from purple flower to purple flower (Holy Basil honey, anyone?).

However, herbs also benefit pollinators by providing a safe habitat and food for these insects and animals to live and thrive.

It’s a win-win relationship we are thrilled to cultivate and steward through our work at our 350-acre organic regenerative herb farm.

The Role of Agricultural Practices in Declining Pollinator Populations

As discussed in Pollinators 101: What Are Pollinators And Why Do They Matter?, pesticide, herbicide, and insecticide use in industrial agriculture are some of the main drivers behind the rapid decline in pollinators.

Climate change, destruction of habitats, and disease are also listed as causes of decline—all of which have links to industrial agriculture.

When a farmer sprays a chemical pesticide, for example, it kills not just pests but beneficial insects, including pollinators.

But pesticides aren’t the only agricultural chemical and practice to blame. 

Research has shown the herbicide glyphosate, commonly known as RoundUp, which is also a patented antibiotic, kills honeybees by interfering with their gut microbiome, which sets them up for early death. REF#2246

Glyphosate is one of the most commonly used weed killers worldwide and was introduced by agrochemical giant Monsanto after DDT was banned in the 1970s. REF#2247 Monsanto was also a producer of DDT.

This is just one small example of a study showing the impact pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides can have on pollinator populations. 

However, it shows that chemical agriculture is a significant threat to pollinators. 

In addition, the clearing of forests and natural prairies for the monocropping of corn, soybeans, cattle, and other crops (all of which require copious amounts of chemical pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, etc.) destroys animal habitats and ecosystems, which contributes to climate change.

Also, research has shown an abundance of non-native plants, such as those planted on large-scale farms, attract pollinators but do not provide them with optimal nutrition of their native diet, which can shorten their lifespan significantly. REF#2248

In other words, agriculture plays an enormous role in the welfare and survival of pollinator species.

At Gaia Herbs, we are proud to be stewarding the welfare of pollinators through our 350-acre organic, regenerative herb farm.

Here, we grow many herbs in our formulas without using chemical pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides. 

We also employ regenerative agricultural practices, such as cover cropping and composting, all of which support the biodiversity of all species—including pollinators.

Different Types of Pollinators, Beyond The Bee

Most of us have heard about the importance of “saving the bees” and the iconic Monarch butterfly. 

However, did you know there are over 200,000 species of pollinators? And that they’re not all insects and butterflies?

The following are examples of pollinators from around the world, many of which are under threat:REF#2249

  • Ants
  • Bats
  • Bees 
  • Beetles
  • Birds
  • Butterflies
  • Flies
  • Lemurs
  • Moths
  • Honey Possums
  • Reptiles
  • Slugs
  • True Bugs
  • Wasps

Researchers estimate between 25-30 percent of pollination is performed by non-bee pollinators, such as the animals and insects listed here. REF#2250

This information isn’t widely known, yet it is vital to understanding different lifeforms' roles in the pollinator spectrum.

Next, we’ll look at ways you can help encourage the livelihood of various pollinators using medicinal herbs and other plants.

5 Ways To Attract Pollinators To Your Property Using Herbs, Plants, And Shelter

If you’re interested in pollinators, you’ve probably read about the benefits of creating a pollinator garden.

Pollinator gardens include native plants and flowers that ideally flower at different times of the year, attracting bees, insects, and other local pollinator species.

This is a beautiful way to create habitat and food for local pollinators and benefit your garden and community.

However, it’s not the only way to attract pollinators. 

Some other excellent ways to attract and sustain pollinators include:

1. Let Dandelions Grow (Especially in the Spring)

Although considered a weed, Dandelions are a source of several essential nutrients and have been used in traditional herbalism for centuries to support liver and digestive function. 

Their flowers are also the first food that emerges for bees in the springtime, and their nectar and seeds provide sustenance for other types of pollinators.

It’s next to impossible to avoid dandelions when mowing the grass. However, they will return if you don’t pull them out by the roots.

2. Build Bat Boxes

Bat Boxes

Bats are one of the world’s most misunderstood and under-appreciated pollinators. 

Yet, they play a critical role in pollinating plants that flower at night and spreading seeds. 

They’re also essential to the pollination and growth of over 300 varieties of fruit, including mangoes, bananas, and guava. REF#2251

One way to attract bats is to build a bat box, providing them shelter and a safe place to birth and raise their young.

A quick Internet search of “Bat Boxes” will yield various instructional content.

Note: Bats can carry rabies in North America, which may make bat boxes a better option for larger acreage.

3. Break Up With, Or Greatly Reduce, Chemical Pesticides and Herbicides

Pesticides and herbicides aren’t just used in conventional agriculture. Millions of pounds are used for home and garden pest control.

This is understandable given what nuisance bugs can be in the home or pests and weeds in the home garden. 

However, commonsense and non-toxic solutions can solve most pest and weed problems.

For example, many pest control companies offer eco-friendly options for home pest control. 

You can also learn to use non-toxic substances to repel bugs, kill weeds, and deter pests. 

Some examples include:

    • Bay leaves: Tape to your cupboards to deter pantry moths
    • Borax: To deter ants and cockroaches (use with care around children and pets)
    • Cloves: Will get rid of ladybugs
    • Coffee grounds: Many insects and other pests are deterred by coffee grounds
    • Cornmeal: Attracts ants but then kills them because they can’t digest it
    • Diatomaceous earth: Will cut ants and small insects
    • Dish soap: Can be added to DIY natural pesticide sprays to kill bugs and help other ingredients, like spices or essential oils, adhere to the plant
  • Epsom salts: Can be mixed with water to repel garden pests and benefit the soil.
  • Essential oils: Specific oils, such as Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, and Geranium, are excellent alternatives to chemical bug spray and can be used in the home to deter bugs.
  • Neem: Comes from the Neem tree and is an effective, non-toxic pesticide for gardens
  • Spices: Such as cayenne pepper and cinnamon will repel bugs and other hungry pests.
  • Vinegar: Makes an excellent herbicide and gets rid of fruit flies

Finally, you can significantly reduce the number of bugs and other pests in your home by using these common-sense measures: 

  • Eliminate their habitats (such as wood chips around windows and doors)
  • Sealing up doors, windows, screens, holes in siding, and attics
  • Controlling humidity
  • Wiping up crumbs and food off floors and surfaces
  • Keeping pet food in a sealed container
  • Planting bug-deterrent herbs, like rosemary, citronella, and geranium, near your doors
  • Regular pantry cleaning and keeping pantry items in sealed containers
  • Trim overgrown bushes, plants, and shrubbery around your house
  • Staying on top of cobwebs
  • Vacuuming regularly

It may take a bit of research and trial and error, but given the potential perils of chemical pesticide and herbicide use to pollinators, the environment, and humans, it’s worth the effort.

4. Plant Herbs

Planting herbs benefits you and your local pollinators. 

Here are a few herbs that are especially beneficial for pollinators: REF#2252 REF#2253

You may already have some of these growing on your property, and if not, herbs are generally hardy and easy to grow.

Worried you won’t get to harvest them all? Don’t be. 

Letting herbs and vegetables bolt or go to seed provides additional sustenance for pollinators.

5. Avoid Planting Too Many Non-Native Plants

As previously mentioned, non-native plants do attract pollinators but also lure them away from the more nutritious, native plants they should be feeding from.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have any non-native plants but emphasize primarily native plants in your gardens.

A local nursery is an excellent source of information on which native plants will grow best on your property.

Interested In Learning More About Pollinators?

At Gaia Herbs, we’ve been dedicated to creating a haven for pollinators—and all types of life—through: 

This benefits us—because pollinators allow us to continue growing herbs for our products and produce for our employees and community. It benefits the pollinators by providing a safe ecosystem for them to thrive.

To learn more about pollinators, including additional tips on encouraging and preserving them, check out the following articles:


  • 1. , "The Importance of Pollinators", US Department of Agriculture.. 1 1. , "The Importance of Pollinators", US Department of Agriculture..
  • 2. , "", . 2 2. , "", .
  • 3. , "New Study Shows RoundUp Kills Bees", Sierra Club. 3 3. , "New Study Shows RoundUp Kills Bees", Sierra Club.
  • 4. , "Decision Making In A Storm of Discontent", Science.. 4 4. , "Decision Making In A Storm of Discontent", Science..
  • 5. , "Pollinators In Trouble", National Park Service.. 5 5. , "Pollinators In Trouble", National Park Service..
  • 6. , "Who Are The Pollinators?", Forest Services USDA. 6 6. , "Who Are The Pollinators?", Forest Services USDA.
  • 7. , "Non-Bee Insects Are Important Contributors To Global Crop Pollination", Ecology. 7 7. , "Non-Bee Insects Are Important Contributors To Global Crop Pollination", Ecology.
  • 8. , "Who Are The Pollinators?", Forest Services USDA. 8 8. , "Who Are The Pollinators?", Forest Services USDA.
  • 9. , "Growing Medicinal Herbs and Flowers for the Plant Pollinators", Maine Organic Farmers And Gardeners. 9 9. , "Growing Medicinal Herbs and Flowers for the Plant Pollinators", Maine Organic Farmers And Gardeners.
  • 10. , "The Importance of Pollinators", USDA. 10 10. , "The Importance of Pollinators", USDA.