Pollinators are vital to life as we know it. They move pollen between flower structures so flowers can be fertilized to produce fruits and seeds. While some plants are self-pollinated and others are pollinated by the wind, many are pollinated by animals, primarily insects in Illinois. These insects include bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, and flies. Some insect pollinators, like bees, intentionally collect pollen. Others, like butterflies and moths, move pollen accidentally when it sticks to their bodies while feeding on nectar.
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Different flower features can influence what types of pollinators visit them. These features are referred to as pollinator syndromes. By looking at different traits that flowers possess such as flower color, scent, amount of pollen present, flower shape, and presence of nectar guides one can get an idea of what types of pollinators may pollinate that particular plant.
Nectar guides are markings or patterns on flowers that direct pollinators to nectar. Some nectar guides may be ultraviolet (UV) and aren’t visible to humans. They can be found on many white and yellow flowers such as daisies and asters.