Pollinators have been a topic that have been all over for the past few years. What are they? Why is it important to plant gardens for pollinators? What kind of plants are best for these cute little insects and birds? What insects and birds are pollinators? All your answers will be explained here!

 

This book is an awesome resource for all things pollinators if you still have questions after reading this post!

 

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First, what is pollination and who are pollinators?

Pollination is the process of moving pollen from one flower to the flower of another species in order to fertilize the seeds of the second flower. Almost all flowering plants need to be pollinated. Plants can be self-pollinators, pollinate by wind or water, but most depend on pollinator species to do the pollination for them. Common pollinator species are bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, and other animals.

Why are pollinator populations declining?

In recent years, the population of pollinator species has been declining. They believe this to be because of habitat loss and increased use of pesticides. Pollen acts as energy and food for these pollinators. When they do not have close by flowering plants, they cannot eat.

Not many agricultural crops need pollination from pollinators. Therefore, a pollinator species flying over a crop field, a golf course, or a grassy field with no flowers have no source of food. It is as if they are trapped in the desert.

Why do we have to plant native plants for pollinators?

If there are more pollinator-friendly plants available, there is more food for pollinators! Native plants are best to plant for pollinators because these insects and animals have adapted to prefer these types of plants. Foreign plants do not offer the same amount of nutrients nor amounts of pollen needed for the pollinators. Some may even be inedible for certain species.

Obviously, native plants are different depending on where you live so here is a great resource to find the native plants of your area.

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How to plant a garden for pollinators

There are a few guidelines to planting your garden specifically for pollinators. This includes:

  • Make sure they are native
  • Have flowers that bloom at different parts of the seasons – Spring, Summer, and Fall
  • Plant large patches of each flower together to allow the best foraging efficiency
  • *Bee* patient- it takes time for pollinators to find your new feeding ground. But they will surly appreciate it once they do!
  • Stay away from pesticides and herbicides! Many of them kill pollinators!
  • Plant pollinator gardens in places that don’t have tons of flowers – yards, golf courses, sides of the road, etc
  • Keep small piles of branches, logs, twigs, old stumps, and old plant material close by. This is where pollinators like to nest!

 

Do certain pollinators like certain plants?

Yes! Bees prefer flowers that are blues and purples. They see ultra-violet colors first for planting flowers of these colors will be the best for bringing bees to your garden. On the other hand, butterflies and humming birds like reds and oranges.

Planting flowers for various pollinators will help contribute to the biodiversity, longevity, and health of your garden! Make sure there is a little something everybody!

If I attract bees will I get stung all the time?

No! Bees know that if they sting you, they die. They want to live! Most bees are actually harmless unless they feel physically threatened. Once they do, that is when they sting you. So if a bee is buzzing around you, let them *bee*! (puns)

What are the consequences if we don’t revive the pollinator populations?

2/3 of the food we put in our mouths rely on pollinators to pollinate them. They are essential for our food consumption and the consumption of many other species as well. They are known as a keynote species. When a bee pollinates a flower, the flower can then produce its fruit which in turn feeds birds and mammals. Other mammals then feed on these birds and mammals and so on. The food chain would be greatly impacted if pollinators continue to decline.

Bottom Line

  • Pollinators are bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and others!
  • They move pollen from one flower to the next in order to fertilize it. Pollination is essential for the health and longevity of plants.
  • Planting native plants is the best option to get pollinators in your garden.
  • Try to plant pollinator-friendly plants in areas of big open spaces that don’t have many flowers.
  • It takes times for pollinators to find your area.
  • Pollinators are essential for many species survival – including humans!

 

This book is an awesome resource for all things pollinators if you still have questions after reading this post!

 

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