New River Sports Logo



Pollinator Profiles

June 20, 2018

Pollinator Week is June 18 to 24! Leading up to and throughout the week, we’ll be sharing posts about how you can support the pollinators that help our gardens grow! To learn more, visit

Middle Tennessee is part of the Eastern Broadleaf Forest bioregion. We have several pollinators that are native to our area, including hummingbirds and several species of bees and butterflies. Let’s learn a bit about the less obvious ones!

What Are Nectar Guides?

Nectar guides are invisible to our eyes but can be found by pollinators! Some pollinators, like bees, prefer plants that have these UV bullseyes. Others, like beetles, do not need them.


We typically think of the more colorful butterflies, but moths also play a crucial pollination role! While butterflies usually like less fragrant flowers, moths are attracted to strong, sweet scents. They take the night pollination shift while the butterflies are more active during the day.

Moths are drawn more to plants that have these characteristics:

  • Dull red, purple, pink, or white petals
  • No nectar guides
  • Strong, sweet fragrances emitted at night


Flies are usually not on the list of creatures we want to invite into our garden! However, the National Research Council has deemed them economically important pollinators because of the number of species of flies and the numbers of species of plants that they visit. Their favorite flowers to visit, however, are small ones in the shade in seasonally moist habitats.

They are drawn to these other plant characteristics:

  • Pale, dull petals
  • No nectar guides
  • Putrid scents



There are over 30,000 beetle species in the United States. These numerous little critters are perhaps not the most beautiful things to watch as they traverse your garden, but they are giving you a helping hand. While they aren’t very efficient pollinators, they do travel to many species of plants, like flies. As they wander around, they are dropping pollen.

Beetles like these plant characteristics:

  • Dull white or green
  • No nectar guides
  • Wide range of odors – none, strong fruity, or extremely unpleasant


You May Also Like…