Are you ready for the home stretch of summer?
We get a few more weeks of sunny, hot weather (hopefully), so enjoy it and make the best of it!
You know who else loves summer just as much as people? Pollinators. We know honey bees get all the love, but there are many other pollinators, too. Butterflies and moths are great to have flying around a garden, the many other non-honey producing bees are fabulous for flowers and vegetables and even some types of wasps pollinate plants. And wasps never get any love!
While we as humans often talk about what pollinators do for us, it’s important to remember that we can also help them out, too.
With just a small strip in your backyard, you can help make the world a better place for pollinators by providing a place for them to eat, a place to nest and healthy conditions for them to thrive in.
1. Create an all seasons buffet for them.
The key to a pollinator-friendly yard is to have plants that bloom at different times so there is always food available for them.
Local greenhouses should be able to help you figure out the best native plants to plant so they always have something to offer bees, butterflies and other pollinators no matter how early or late in the season it is.
2. Leave some bare patches.
We often think of bee hives when we consider where the little insects live, but about 70% of native North American bees actually nest in the ground, burrowing into the soil. Others prefer cavities in places like dead wood, hollow stems, or brush piles. Bumble bees, for example, create nests in cavities underground or in trees. They like abandoned rodent burrows or sheltered areas amongst plants and woods, such as beneath brush piles.
So, rather than filling every square inch of garden space with plants, leave some room and maybe add some old pieces of log for decoration if you’re interested in giving pollinators a place to live. While bumble bees can fly up to around three kilometres, many bee species do not venture far away from their nests, so living close to where they can find food is crucial for their survival.
3. Broaden your knowledge.
Because we as a species love to consume honey, most of the attention about pollinator conservation gets heaped on the honey bee. However, honey bees are rather picky when it comes to pollinating and they’re not that efficient at it and they’re also not even native to North America.
There are so many other types of pollinators to think of out there. North America has around 4,000 native bee species, plus there are wasps that pollinate, butterflies, moths, some bird species, bats and other animals. When you’re considering making your yard into a pristine pollinator habitat, think beyond the honey bee.
4. Say no to the spray.
Pesticides can kill pollinators, so refrain from using any in your yard. Even if you spray in other areas besides your specific pollinator patch, it might drift onto the plants meant for them. Rather than risking your safe haven for pollinators, it’s better to not use pesticides at all.
5. Keep things a little untidy.
Who says you have to rake up every last leaf in your yard? In fact, you should actually leave the leaves, at least when it comes to your pollinator palace. That’s because a layer of leaves can help insects find places to nest. Remember that when you see a green lawn, it may look vibrant to you, but to a pollinator or any insect, it’s basically like a desert with nary a nutrition source in sight.
If you want to help pollinators, it doesn’t take much effort. Do a little bit of research to find out the pollinators in your area, what native plants they like to eat and arrange your little pollinator paradise so there is always something to snack on.
While you give pollinators a little slice of paradise, don’t forget about your own little piece of shady paradise. Please contact us to talk about your awning and shutter needs.