What you can do
You want to drive change on behalf of pollinators, and we can help! Please keep reading to learn more about simple things you can do at home and in the garden to protect pollinators!
Landscape with Native Plants
You may be wondering what all the fuss around native plants is about. Aren't all flowers good for pollinators?
As it turns out, not all flowers are created equally when it comes to pollinators! The bees, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats that are native to a particular region often specialize in flowering plants that are also native to the area. These pollinators and plants "grew up" together through evolutionary time, so native pollinators have adapted to use native flowers and may not even recognize some non-natives as a food source.
In addition, European honeybees (the ones you see all over) are not native to North America! Of course, we love all bees, but it's still important to know that these honeybees have the potential to compete with native pollinators because of their large numbers, adaptability as generalists (able to use many species of flowers for food and pollen), and more extensive ranges.
By using primarily native plants in your outdoor space, you are leveling the playing field and creating critical habitat for native pollinators! (Plus, native plants are often more pest, drought, and even fire-resistant, which means less work for you!)
Manage Your Space Organically
Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are all toxic to pollinators (not to mention you!). Even if the packaging claims to be pollinator-safe or pollinator-friendly, the chemicals found in these treatments make their way into the plants they're applied to and are then consumed by pollinators through pollen, nectar, and surface oils.
While the toxics may not kill pollinators outright, they can cause physiological and neurological issues that impact the pollinator's ability to navigate, reproduce, and fight off infection and disease.
Managing your outdoor spaces organically (without the use of pesticides) is critical to keeping pollinators safe.
Buy Organic Produce
If it's important to manage your garden without the use of pesticides, it's even more critical that we manage our expansive agricultural spaces organically as well. By buying organic produce you are supporting farms that do not use pollinator-toxic chemicals.
Maintain Your Garden
One of the most valuable and easiest things you can do to support pollinators and other invertebrates is to provide them with the leaves and stems they need for winter cover and food. Leaving even small piles of dead plant material around your yard can be crucial for nesting bees! And don't forget to leave some bare earth for ground nesting bees.
Even if you have turf in your yard, you can still make that space work for pollinators by participating in No Mow May! Cutting your lawn less frequently (or not at all!) allows a wider diversity of helpful plants to grow and thrive in your space, bringing more pollinator diversity as well!
Spread the word about the steps you've taken in your outdoor space by including a pollinator habitat yard sign in your garden! This is a super easy way to engage your neighbors in the conversation, too!