The Unlikely Insects That Pollinate Plants In Arctic Regions Where Bees Are Almost Non-Existent

Many people picture arctic regions to be nothing more than vast landscapes covered entirely with snow. In reality, only the most northern regions of earth are comprised entirely of barren landscapes of frozen snow. Plant life is surprisingly diverse and abundant in southern arctic regions, but pollinating bees are not. While some pollinating bee species do exist in arctic regions, they are far too scarce to perpetuate arctic plant life on their own. Obviously, this means that pollination duties in the arctic must be carried out by other types of airborne insect life.

Bees are associated with pollination for a good reason, as bees pollinate the majority of the world’s flowering vegetation. However, in the arctic, flies are largely responsible for carrying out pollination duties. The most significant pollinating insect in the arctic is closely related to the common housefly. Unfortunately, the current global decline in insect populations could lead to a drastic decrease in arctic vegetation. In fact, this troubling trend is already occurring.

Flowering occurs in arctic regions immediately after the first snow melt of the season. At this time of year, flowering plants compete intensely for the pollination services that flies provide. Only the flowers that are most attractive to pollinating flies will reproduce. According to Finnish researchers, the diversity and number of flowering plants in the arctic is decreasing. It has been theorized that this decrease is occurring in response to the global decrease in Muscidae species. “Muscidae” is the name given to the family of flies that are referred to as common flies, as they are distributed in all regions of the globe. Also, the warming climate is causing snow to melt earlier than normal, which results in an earlier bloom. This is problematic as many flowering plants die before the annual abundance of pollinating flies arrive. Since the continued seed production of arctic vegetation depends almost entirely on Muscidae flies, it may not be long before plant life ceases to exist in the arctic.

Do you think that the dying-off of arctic vegetation due to the decrease in Muscidae flies will have a negative impact on humans in any way?

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