Pollinators are essential to the majority of flowering plants in our environment, including many food plants. Plants need pollinators, in particular bees but also butterflies, flies, moths, beetles, wasps and birds to move pollen from one plant to another. When pollinators are under attack, our food supply is threatened.
Pollinators are endangered for a number of reasons, including disease, destruction of habitat, and the overuse of chemicals.
Doing our part to protect pollinators need not be overwhelming. Small steps such as these can have a big impact:
*Plant flowers that bloom April – October when pollinators are out.
*Plant annuals, here are some ideas: https://extension.umn.edu/flowers-pollinators/annual-flowers-pollinators
*Native plants have evolved to attract pollinators and provide food and habitat. Plant bee friendly plants. A list of plants that attract bees can be found here: https://www.beelab.umn.edu/bees/flowers/plants-mn-bees
*Chemicals used to control insects, fungus or weeds in yards may be toxic to bees and other pollinators. Setting aside even a small portion of your yard as a chemical free zone is helpful.
*Dandelions provide much needed early spring food for bees, so leave a few in your lawn.
*Use bee friendly plants in your lawn. Dutch white clover not only provides nutrients for your soil, but their flowers are a food source for bees.
*Plant milkweed. Try plants that are less invasive than common milkweed such as swamp milkweed. For a list of varieties see: https://www.growmilkweedplants.com/minnesota.html
*Provide shelter for bees by leaving long stems standing during your fall clean up.
*Try pocket planting. Planting a small space with native plantings is not only easy to maintain but can provide a habitat for pollinators. For more info:https://bluethumb.org/native-plant-gardens/pocket-plantings/