Media coverage helps sell pollinator-friendly landscapes Email
Monday, May 09, 2016 03:00 AM

Bee on a flowerPollinator Week 2016 is June 20-26, and it is a great time to talk with clients about planting for the benefit of wildlife. You may have already had customers ask you about how to protect pollinators or attract them to their landscapes. Media reports about the role of bees and butterflies have shed a light on how important they are to our ecosystem and to our health.

Shifting attitudes about pollinators means your customers may be more willing to consider plants that attract butterflies, bees, and moths. Fear of bee stings, allergies, or “ugly” nests have eased, perhaps due to increased media attention to changing pollinator habitats and pollinator concerns such as Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees.

This year’s ALCC Day of Service project at Walk Clark Middle School in Loveland, Colorado is a great example of how wider recognition of the benefits of pollinators has made the public more open to welcoming pollinators into the landscape. In the past, schools would not have approved a butterfly garden due to the increased risk of bees and bee stings near the school. But efforts like the White House Pollinator Task Force have helped educate the public and help them understand that the benefits of planting for pollinators greatly outweigh the risks of having bees present.

Realizing the importance of pollinators—even the less adorable ones like moths and bats—can make the public more accepting of welcoming these creatures into their yard. After all, without bats—the major pollinator of agave—there’d be no tequila at happy hour.

The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge continues in 2016. The initiative educates consumers and businesses about pollinators and encourages them to create pollinator-friendly habitats in their landscape. Your clients who choose to plant for pollinators can register their home habitat on the web site.

Fun facts about pollinators to share with your customers on social media or other communications:

  • Beetles pollinate about 88% of the 240,000 flowering plants on earth. 
  • Most species of bees don't sting. Although all female bees are physically capable of stinging, most bee species native to the U.S. are "solitary bees,” that is, not living in colonies and don't sting unless they are physically threatened or injured. 
  • Of the 1,400 crop plants grown, almost 80 percent depend on pollinators.
  • Pollination also produces seeds and fruits that feed birds and other wildlife.
  • Only about 0.5% of children and 3% of adults have actual sting allergies from bees, wasps, and ants which could, if untreated, lead to systemic reactions. The risk of a sting from bees in your yard or garden is very small, especially with a bit of advance knowledge.

Read more in this issue:
The ELITE Award for Installation/Construction: Outdoor Craftsmen
Better by nature: Safety is part of Zak George Landscaping culture
Day of Service serves multiple purposes this year
Bill Johannsen receives Stan Brown Award