Many gardeners are learning how important pollinators are to our food supply and well-being. How can we, as gardeners and homeowners, do more to help our pollinator friends?
- Plant lots of flowering nectar plants.
Native plants like anise hyssop, bee balm, coneflower, goldenrod, phlox, Virginia spiderwort (pictured above) and many others are all fantastic for pollinators.
According to Our February 2017 speaker Claire Jones, who has spent many decades working to help pollinators, non-native plants like catmint, cosmos, hollyhock, lavender, zinnias, sunflowers, and verbena are also great sources of pollen and nectar for the bees.
- Host a bee-hive or other bee houses.
Here’s a simple one made from a recycled can and hollow stems from the garden.
- Avoid spraying broad-spectrum pesticides.
Most pesticides used for mosquito control do unfortunately kill all insects on contact, including bees and butterflies and predator bugs like dragonflies. Instead, keep mosquitoes from breeding by emptying all standing water in your vicinity. Top culprits include: gutters, tarps, tires, toys, rain barrels, bird baths, pet dishes. Try using mosquito dunks in your rain barrels.
If you must spray for mosquitoes, do so at dusk, when bees are no longer active and mosquitoes are.