June is National Pollinator Month!

Build an insectary like this one. (Oregon Zoo.)

This June, in honor of National Pollinator Month, why not invite a pollinator home! We’ve put together several tips to help you get 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 and pollen.

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.

Fritillary butterflies enjoying Yarrow blossoms

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 bare to provide ground-nesting insects easy access to make underground tunnels. Piling dead branches over this area will keep folks from walking on the entrances to the nests.

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.

These may seem like small things, but we can all make a difference in the life of a pollinator!

 

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