As children attending grade school science class, we all learned that bees are necessary in order to start the process of plant-reproduction, and therefore, we came to understand how bees make the world habitable for humans. We learned that numerous bee species transport pollen from the anther of a male flowering plant to the stigma of a female flowering plant. Gametes present in the pollen of a male flower lead to fertilization in the ovules of the female flower. Considering that such information has long been considered essential to grade school science curriculum, everyone should understand why the rapid decrease in bee species all over the world is considered a serious contemporary issue that is urgently in need of a solution. However, not all pollinating insects are bees, and other measures can be taken to boost the rate of plant pollination in all areas of the world. For example, lawmakers in several countries are now working to cut the use of street lights during the nighttime hours in order to increase the rate of plant pollination. This political move may confuse many people who are not aware of the harmful effect that artificial light has on pollinating insects, and why cutting nighttime street lights may help to remedy the current decrease in the amount of plants being pollinated.
Not long ago, a study was published that described the negative impacts that artificial light has on numerous types of nocturnal animals. For example, we all known how moths tend to dive head-first into artificial lights. Considering this, you can imagine how often and how many moths must dive into street lights during a given night within your home town, but why should you care? While it has long been known that moths contribute to plant-pollination, researchers are only now learning that moths, and to a lesser extent bats, are actually responsible for pollinating many plants that were once believed to be pollinated by bees only. As it happens, moths are significant pollinators, but since their pollinating activity occurs during the dark of night, the full extent of their service in this regard had long gone unnoticed by researchers. Unfortunately, street lights prevent moths from pollinating plants, and many moths die after striking searing hot street light bulbs. If moths are busy hovering around street lights during the night, they will not have a chance to pollinate plants. This is why many countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, are considering turning street lights off after midnight. Studies have shown that moths pollinate more crops and wild plant life in areas where street lights are absent. Cutting the power to street lights will not only lead to an increase in the number of plants pollinated, but it will also save taxpayer money that is used to power these lights.
Do you know of any other nocturnal insects that pollinate flowers?