Why they are important to our gardens
Pollinators are incredibly important and are not just limited to bees and wasps, but also include other insects like butterflies, flies, beetles and moths. If we didn't have pollinators visiting the blooms on our food crops, it would be a lot harder for us to feed our families and to feed the world, so I think it's very important for everyone who gardens to try and attract pollinators.
Attracting with Plants
This is probably the easiest way to attract pollinators. Planting a variety of flowering plants in a variety of colors and fragrances will help insure that you will have a variety of pollinators at hand. You can also use this guide in case you don't want bees and wasps to be attracted to highly populated areas of the yard. Plant away from the home, if that is an issue for you.
- Bees are attracted to blue, yellow, green and ultraviolet.
- Butterflies are attracted to pinks, reds and mauves.
- Moths are attracted to softer hues of the pink and red variety as well as fragrant plants.
- Moths are also attracted to lights, so outdoor lighting in and around the garden can help attract moths more quickly.
- Flies and beetles are attracted to strong scents.
Avoiding Pesticide Use
This is more of a what not to do tip, rather than how to attract tip, but it needs to be said. Probably the biggest cause for the drop in pollinator populations is pesticide use.
Most pesticides are non-selective, meaning it will kill everything. Even homemade pesticides will kill good bugs as well as bad, so it's very important to limit their use whenever possible.
If you are forced to use a pesticide, use the least toxic control based on the exact pest you are trying to control and only apply it to the actual bug you are trying to get rid of.
Air pollution prevents pollinators who rely on scent to find plants easily. While you can't control the entire air pollution problem, you can do your part to help minimize it.
- Don't burn leaves or trash.
- Don't idle a car unnecessarily and keep your car in good mechanical condition to reduce emissions.
- Walk or ride a bike when possible inside of driving a car.
- Avoid using gas powered lawn equipment as much as possible.
- Don't use lighter fluid when barbecuing.
- Conserve energy in general.
If you have a yard full of a variety of trees, shrubs and perennials, you most likely have everything that most pollinators need for shelter. However, you can encourage one of the best pollinators of all, the mason bee, by putting up a mason bee house. Place the house away from your home as the bees can become quite active once they discover the house.