Green Tips: Helping Pollinators

Green Tips | May 27, 2020

June is National Pollinator Month! This week’s Green Tips will help you support pollinator populations that are on the decline due to climate change, pesticides, habitat loss, and disease. The survival of pollinators is incredibly important for our food security: roughly one-third of our diet is produced through pollination. While keeping hives is a great way to support pollinators, this edition of our Green Tips will cover other ways that you can support these important creatures. No matter where you live, you can do your part. 

Make a Pollinator Garden

A great way to help pollinators is by creating a pollinator-friendly garden. From window boxes to gardens in the ground, any and all pollinator gardens can help.

  • Picking a location: Flowering plants can grow in both shady and sunny locations, but most butterflies and other pollinators like to bask in the sun. If you can, choose a sunny spot! 
  • Choosing your plants: Make sure to select plants that pollinators love. Here’s how you can choose the right plants for your pollinator garden: 
    • Look for native pollinator-friendly plants. Native plants will require less maintenance. 
    • Include plants that bloom at different times throughout the spring and summer to provide pollinators with a consistent source of nectar. 
    • Try to plant perennials that will return each year.
    • If you can, include night-blooming flowers in your garden to attract moths and bats, too! Both are pollinators.

Install a Bee Hotel
Solitary bees live in the ground or in the holes of natural structures—not in hives. In fact, 90% of bee species do not live in a colony. To help solitary pollinators, consider building a bee hotel to place near your garden. They are not only fun to build, but also add a great visual to your garden. Another way to support native bee species is to leave a portion of your lawn or space unkempt. Native pollinators prefer undisturbed, untamed areas to shelter.

Provide Water
All living creatures need water. Consider installing a bird bath or leaving out a bowl of water near your garden or bee hotel. If possible, make sure that the water is clean and free of chemicals. Try leaving sugar water in a spoon on your windowsill. If bees cannot find nectar, sugar water will provide them energy to continue their search.

Eliminate Pesticides and Herbicides
Go pesticide- and herbicide-free on your property. If you live in an apartment building, speak to management about the importance of reducing these toxic chemicals. Neonicotinoid pesticides reduces a bee’s ability to navigate home and reduces their sperm count. 

Purchase Local Honey
Support your local beekeeper by purchasing local, raw honey. It provides many health benefits, and can also address seasonal allergies. Support your local economy by giving your local beekeeper some business. 

Next time you enjoy a ripe avocado or bite into a juicy watermelon, thank a pollinator! Better yet, follow our tips for other ways to support these special creatures. Thank you for doing your part, and happy National Pollinator Month!

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