Each year, we hear about the mysterious global disappearance of our pollinating friends, especially the plight of our honeybees. This is due mainly to the use of certain herbicides and particularly habitat loss. Gardeners can make a big difference for all pollinators by enhancing the type of flowers in the garden and creating a bee-friendly environment.
It’s easy for you to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators by establishing pollinator gardens that can provide enough habitats to restore healthy communities of beneficial insects and pollinators. You don’t have to have a large backyard to attract and support pollinators. Anything from a wildflower meadow to a garden planter will do the trick with a few well-chosen species of seasonal plants.
The most important step you can take is to plant nectar and pollen-rich plants like wildflowers and old-fashioned varieties of flowers. A succession of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs is best so nectar and pollen will be available throughout the growing season
All pesticides, even organic pesticides, are toxic to bees and other beneficial organisms so there is little reason why they should be used to protect your garden from insects and diseases. They may provide a quick knock-down to the attackers in the short term, but kill beneficial organisms that help to sustain your garden. Not only do you expose yourself, family and pets, to toxic chemicals, you risk disrupting the natural ecosystem that in your garden inhabit. Going organic is both safer and more effective.
By applying the simple principles of ecological plant protection, you can work with nature to control pests and diseases, enjoy a healthier garden and harvest and protect pollinators and other beneficial insects.
In order to avoid and hide from predators, butterflies, bees and other pollinators need shelter in order to get out of damaging outdoor elements and rear their young. One idea is to let a hedge grow wild for ground-nesting bees. Another is to let a log decompose in a sunny place on the ground, or allow a dead tree to stand to create nooks for butterflies and solitary bees.
You can also put up an artificial nesting box or add a bat house that provides shelter for bats to raise their young. The more shelter that is provided on your property for our friendly pollinators, the better the chance you backyard will be a bevy of activity.
Provide Food and Water
Like all animals, bees, birds and butterflies also all need access to water on a regular basis. If you’re really ambitious and wish to create the perfect oasis for pollinators, install a water garden, birdbath or catch basin for rain. Butterflies, in particular, will flock to muddy puddles to absorb the salts and nutrients in the water.
It isn’t necessary to live in a rural area to keep bees because your backyard already has everything you need to get started. All you really need is a little space, some source of water, a variety of flowers for them to visit, and a willingness to learn about beehives. Here is a great source for the interested hobbyist with easy to understand information about becoming a backyard beekeeper. Attracting Beneficial Bees.
You should try to focus on a healthy landscape, instead of a perfect one because a pollinator’s health is critical to our food system and the diversity of life across the world. Each of us can do our part to create a pollinator-friendly environment that will benefit all of us for generations to come.
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