What Makes a Pollinator

Before we can take steps to help pollinators on a global and local level, we have to understand what pollinators have in common with one another.

Good pollinators have several traits in common. They:

  • travel from flower to flower with ease,
  • have hairs, scales, or feathers that “catch” pollen grains,
  • have specialized mouth parts for collecting nectar.

Not all pollinators are attracted to the same types of flowers/plants.

  • Hummingbirds are attracted to tubular-shaped flowers with no distinct odor. They prefer scarlet, orange, red, or white. 
  • Bats are attracted to dull white, green or purple flowers. These flowers emit odors at night. The odors are strong and musty.
  • Bees head for bright white, yellow or blue flowers. They also prefer flowers with contrasting ultraviolet patterns with fresh, mild, or pleasant odor.
  • Flies like green, white, or cream flowers with little odor. They’re also fans of brown and purple flowers that smell pretty darned bad.
  • Butterflies head for bright red and purple flowers. These flowers have a fresh, slight odor.
  • Moths are attracted to pale red, purple, pink or white flowers with a strong, sweet odor at night.
  • Beetles head for white or green flowers with a variety of odors that vary from none at all to strongly fruity or downright foul.

You’ll find pictures of these pollinators here.

Click on the image of our source, Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden, for more info.
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