The warmth of spring and summer welcomes its greatest allies – pollinators. You may have a desire to share your portion of the planet with these savvy superstars but aren’t sure how to invite them in. Read on to learn some of the ways you can welcome these ecological powerhouses to your garden.
Plant In Groups
Most pollinators happen to be near-sighted and need large areas of color and scent to guide them appropriately. Be sure to plant in drifts or masses of three, five or seven plants. This makes it easy for pollinators to reach their destination, which may be the patch of wild bergamot in your back yard. This pattern also reflects the way plants grow naturally – in colonies where they can communicate with one another.
Offer Them Shelter
Providing shelter will make your yard a safe place for not only adults, but their offspring as well. Birdhouses with appropriate sizing can offer a nesting place with protection from predators. Native bees, bats, butterflies and their young thrive when offered shelter to grow their families away from unfriendly foes.
Birds enjoy bathing and preening in water and baths are key to their enjoyment of your yard. Honeybees and butterflies use water for digestion, temperature control and for feeding their young.
A shallow bath will allow all of these species to use the water without risking drowning. Be wary of leaving water in a birdbath for too long as stagnant water will attract mosquitos and become a breeding location for their young. Replace the water as part of your normal gardening routine to ensure fresh water for your winged friends.
Consider which pollinators you desire to attract and plant intentionally. If you wish to entice bees, a spot of bee balm would be wise, while butterflies or hummingbirds may require something a little different. Of course, most plants are appealing to many kinds of pollinators, but researching blooms that entice certain creatures can offer precision in the building of your pollinator promised land.
Research has shown that bees are more likely to seek nourishment in plants native to their own locations. These plants are also less likely to develop disease or attract pests than non-native plants.
There are several online resources that make it easy to discover plants native to your area. Simply search your region or zip code and you will find search engines full of native plant results that are perfect for your garden and plans for your pollinators.
The more natural your garden, the more luck you will have attracting pollinators into your landscape. Decreasing pesticide use or eliminating them entirely will encourage pollinator populations to gather. This is the time to call in the reinforcements – bats.
It is commonly understood that bats eat many insects and their reputation for mosquito consumption is strong. However, bats eat a majority of agricultural pests and having them in your area will protect your garden. Provide them with shelter in direct sunlight to roost in and regulate their temperature.
Use Tools To Provide Food
Bumblebees, butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles – and even squirrels – are effective pollinators. Encouraging them to be present in your yard can be very simple- offer them food!
These pollinating machines will scurry, buzz, flutter and fly around your garden in search of sustenance, so make it easy for them to find. There are many different types of feeders for each kind of bird and options for squirrels as well. Your yard will be filled with the sound of bird songs and the scampering of little squirrel feet in no time!
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