LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Bees, butterflies and moths are in the spotlight as National Pollinator Week (June 17-23) arrives, and the Nevada Division of Natural Heritage (NDNH) notes their importance to our food supply.

One out of every three bites of food you eat depends on pollinators, according to the division’s news release. And pollinators aren’t limited to your garden-variety insects. Along with over 600 butterfly and moth species, beetles, flies and even hummingbirds are part of the pollinator community. And Nevada has a unique specialist called the yucca moth that pollinates Joshua trees and other yucca species vital to the Mojave Desert ecosystem.

“The Nevada Division of Natural Heritage is committed to providing data and expertise needed to support preservation of critical ecosystems like wetlands, vital for our environment’s health and diversity,” Jamey McClinton, Administrator of NDNH, said in a statement.

“These ecosystems support a wide array of wildlife, including essential pollinators and the plant species upon which they depend. By taking steps such as planting flowers native to your region of Nevada, reducing pesticide use, and joining conservation efforts, we can enhance pollinator populations and their habitats. Our collective actions will contribute to a healthier and more resilient environment for future generations,” McClinton said.

The 2023 Nevada Legislature outlawed the sale of pesticides known as neonicotinoids in Assembly Bill 162 last year, providing a little more protection. Neonicotinoids are highly toxic to bees.

Pesticides aren’t the only threat. Several pollinator species in Nevada have undergone severe declines in recent years due to dwindling wetland habitats, invasive species, and wildland fires, according to NDNH.

Want to help track pollinators in your neighborhood? There’s an app for that. The iNaturalist app is available on Android and Apple devices. By recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for area scientists working to better understand and protect our natural world.

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