Protect and Attract Pollinators for
Productive, Beautiful Plants

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Over the past decade, you have likely heard of the pressing issue of pollinator decline, particularly the decline in honeybee populations.

 

Here is why it matters, according to the National Audubon Society and IPBES:

 

▪ One bee can pollinate 300 million flowers a day. 

▪ 75 percent of the world's food crops must be pollinated to grow, and 90 percent of that pollination is done by bees. 

 

Bees play a vital role in the life cycle of many crops so there is cause for concern. You can take numerous steps to support healthy pollinator populations in your yard and garden.

 

While honey bees are the quintessential pollinator, many other insects also assist in pollinating food and garden plants. In addition to bees, flies, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, and even insects traditionally known as "pests," such as wasps and mosquitoes, fill specific niches as pollinators

for different plants.

 

The first step to promoting pollinator health in your garden is limiting the use of pesticides. Obviously, destructive garden pests must be controlled if there are any flowers to pollinate. Still, many best practices can mitigate any effects on desirable pollinators.

 

Eliminate harsh chemical pesticides in favor of natural and organic products, such as Neem Max, Pyrethrin Garden Spray, Spinosad-based Garden Insect Spray, or any other pest control products carried at Spray-N-Grow.

 

Apply pesticides before dawn or after sunset to avoid times when pollinators are active. Carefully inspect your garden and yard for the presence of pollinators before using even all-natural or organic pesticides. Bees and other pollinators are often covered by the foliage of plants.  

 

When you keep pesticide application to a minimum, you may be surprised that natural predators such as lizards, birds, and spiders will help keep your garden pest-free.

 

The next step is to attract pollinators, including bees, moths, butterflies, and hummingbirds, to your yard and garden. Filling your garden with many different plants is key to catching the attention of traveling pollinators looking for variety. Be sure to consider color and fragrance. Local wildflowers and herbaceous plants are favorites of many pollinators, and they can grow alongside your usual garden fruits, vegetables, and flowers. 

 

Additionally, planting groups of similar plants can help to encourage pollinators to visit several plants of the same species, increasing the likelihood of successful pollination. 

 

Here's a list of some plants to consider:

 

herbs - basil, dill, mint, parsley, chives, thyme, and sage

Bee Balm

Butterfly Weed

Cuphea

Calendula

Canna Lily

Catmint

Dahlia

Fuchsia

Hibiscus

Lantana

Portulaca

Purple Coneflower

Salvia

Scarlet

Runner Bean

Snapdragon

Sweet Alyssum

Sunflower

Zinnia

Verbena

 

Visit your favorite local nursery for advice on selecting the best plants to attract pollinators in your region.

 

Providing water and food for pollinators also keeps them working in your yard and garden. Add a birdbath or fountain or line a tray or platter with pebbles, and fill it with an inch of water. Just be sure to clean out the water regularly to prevent mosquito infestations. Hang a nectar feeder for hummingbirds which also provides food for bees. 

 

Pollinators are vital for a productive, beautiful yard and garden. Protecting and attracting them should be part of every gardener's plan. 

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