How to attract pollinators

 

How to attract pollinators
Spring a good time to think about ways to bring more pollinators into our yards and gardens. Bees alone pollinate more than 16% of flowering plant species and if it’s only bees we’re talking about, we do need to be careful about WHERE we attract them into our yards. 

Hummingbird mothBut bees aren’t the only pollinators. Hummingbirds, butterflies, moths and even bats get in on the action. These pollinating creatures are increasingly important in the urban ecosystem because we no longer think of our yards as the nice view out the window or only as curb appeal. Today, we use our yards to enjoy the outdoors and to give us the ultimate in locally grown food. 

And pollinators make that happen.

How can you do your part?
All pollinators need three things – shelter, nourishing plants, and water. Among those three, water is often the least common in our yards. The sprinkler system sprays the lawn and drips water around plants, but it won’t provide a good place to get a drink. Even standard bird baths provide such a slippery slope that thirsty bees often loose their footing and drown.

Here’s what you can do:

  • If you have a standard bird bath with steep sides, add some small rocks that stand slightly above the water line as a perch where bees can stand while quenching their thirst.
  • If you have a pond or water feature, create places with very gentle slopes where bees can plant their feet without sliding into the water. Plants along the water’s edge that drape into the water are also good perches.
  • Make your own simple watering place by filling a pie plate with marbles. Add water so that the water level sits below the top of the marbles. Bees or birds can perch on the marbles while they drink.
  • Look for bird feeders with gently sloped sides and that are highly textured to provide traction.Butterfly in a puddle
  • Finally, rinse and refill the water several times per week. 

Butterflies like puddles!
Unlike other pollinators, butterflies are attracted to muddy pools for the salt and nutrients they provide. If you want to offer them a nice watering hole, create a dip in the soil in a sunny area where the sprinklers run to give them a puddle.  

Read more about wildscaping for pollinators, and learn about some recommended pollinator-friendly plants. 

Need help with your pollinator garden? Visit www.alcc.com/find-a-landscape-pro to find a member company near you.

 
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