How to Create A Pollinator Friendly Garden
What do bees, butterflies, moths, bats, beetles, birds, flies, and wasps have in common? They are all pollinators. Responsible for pollinating 300,000 plant species and more than 1,200 crops, pollinators work for free around the clock and provide us with an invaluable ecosystem service. Avocados, apples, oranges, squash, blueberries, and tomatoes depend on pollination. Some scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of the food that we eat is made possible by these industrious creatures.
Pollinators currently face a host of threats. Loss of habitat, disease, climate change, and pesticide and chemical use have negatively affected pollinator populations.
What can we do to help? Here are five simple ways to make your garden or yard pollinator friendly. Attracting pollinators adds beauty and biodiversity to your garden and can increase the quality and yields of your produce.
1) Flower Power: grow a variety of flowers to attract a wide range of pollinators. Bees usually prefer flowers they can walk on. Moths and butterflies like wide flowers they can land on.
2) Timing: make sure that your plants flower at different times of the year, so pollinators have a reason to visit your garden all year.
3) Organic: don’t use pesticides or herbicides. Many of the chemicals in these products are harmful to pollinators. Avoid the use of Neonicotinoids found in a lot of garden and household products. Instead, use eco-friendly nontoxic products and Integrated Pest Management for pest control.
4) Shelter: leave a wild space for pollinators to rest, nest, and live in. This could be small areas of fallen branches, an insect hotel, or shrubs and bushes.
5) Hydration: Leave shallow bowls of water in your yard. Provide a safe place for pollinators to drink by putting a rock or two in the water. (Change the water every other day to avoid mosquitos.)