It’s hard to believe, but the choices you make in planting and managing your gardens and yards can make an important difference on a larger scale – you can help conserve pollinators! Joe Lamp’L from the popular PBS Television Series writes: “Imagine living in a world without flowers or fruit or even coffee or chocolate for that matter. Thanks to the wonderful work of pollinators like bees, much of the food we eat and flowers and plants we enjoy are possible. And it’s not just bees that are doing all the work. Butterflies, birds, beetles, bats, wasps and even flies are important in the pollination process. But despite the importance of pollinators, they are taken for granted all too often. Worldwide, there is an alarming decline in pollinator populations. Excessive use of pesticides and an ever-expanding conversion of landscapes to human use are the biggest culprits.”
You can make a positive difference in your gardens AND provide a diverse assortment of flowering plants throughout the growing season. The Xerces Society recommends that you try to provide blooming plants from early spring to fall, with at least three species of flower in bloom each season. Also, use pesticides only when necessary and then only late in the day or evening. Look for alternative ways to deal with pest and disease issues before reaching for a quick fix. Take the time to learn about the insects you see in your garden – they may be important pollinators or they may simply be bugs that don’t do any damage. You might need to collect one and use a Bug Loupe for identification. This can be pretty fun for the kiddies too!
Local County Extension offices often have an entomologist (bug expert) who can identify insects for you. Be an informed, thoughtful, eco-friendly gardener! The actions you take in and around your garden can either help reduce or promote the population of pollinators in your landscape.
If you want to learn more about pollinators, taking action, learning to identify bees, and creating a pollinator-friendly landscape, consider supporting the Xerces Society and purchasing this beautiful book, Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies.