As you pop that juicy blueberry into your mouth and enjoy the sweet berry goodness, say a silent “thank you” to your local pollinator! We owe a debt of gratitude to these hard workers, busily carrying pollen from one flower to the next. Therefore, in recognition of National Pollinator Awareness week (June 14 thru 21), let us all do just one thing to help the struggling pollinators.
Here are a few ideas that may get you started:
Plant an unusable area. Consider planting native (non-invasive) plants in an unusable area of your property. You will not miss the space and the pollinators will be thrilled with the new source of food! Plants that flower at varying times throughout the summer will extend the availability of nectar.
Invite a pollinator for a drink. Provide a clean, reliable source of drinking water for pollinators. Water features such as pools, ponds, running water, small containers, and birdbaths will all do the trick. Do not forget to make sure there is a shallow or sloping side for the pollinator to safely access without drowning.
Offer shelter to a little friend. Sites for nesting are crucial in the survival of pollinators. The following are a few ways you can provide shelter. First, try to layer your landscape. Plant trees, shrubs and perennials with varying heights to provide protected areas for the pollinators to eat and nest. Second, leave dead snags for nesting sites or install pollinator-nesting boxes. These are available at many retailers or you may make your own boxes. Third, leave some areas of soil uncovered to provide ground-nesting insects easy access to make underground tunnels.
Hold off on pesticides. Pollinators are susceptible to pesticides. However, there are ways you can reduce, eliminate, or limit pesticide use. Try choosing native plants for your garden. Native plants are tolerant of local conditions and tend to have fewer problems requiring chemicals. Another strategy is to maintain healthy growing conditions on your property. Remove diseased plants and infected leaves from the previous year. Why not enjoy the outdoors and spend some time using hand tools to remove weeds rather than herbicides? If you must use pesticides, please READ THE LABEL, and spray when the plant is not in bloom. Avoid spraying adjacent to bee habitat, such as nesting areas or on caterpillar host plants.