Pollinator week was created to raise awareness of what pollinators are , why we need them, what challenges they face, and what we can do to help. To that aim, we have run a series of posts that introduces pollinators and their importance, describes why pollinators pollinate, explores how both plants and pollinators cooperate or cheat, and gave a rundown of some common pollinators.
Many pollinators are understudied, but of those that are well-studied, many are struggling. Overall, pollinator populations are declining and their ranges are shrinking. This trend is not good; we depend on pollinators for many major food commodities, plus they are essential for maintaining healthy plant populations and a functioning ecosystem. Because pollinators and the challenges they face are diverse, identifying catch-all methods to help pollinators is challenging. However, there are a few basic things you can do to help out pollinators around your home:
- Plant a variety of native flowering plants, being careful to select species such that at least one plant species is always in bloom throughout the growing season.
- Create nesting habitat for solitary bees, including patches of bare sand and/or soil, untreated wood with holes of various diameters drilled into it, and paper straws or hollow reeds.
- To facilitate specific species, be sure to include plantings of their favorite host plants, including larval host plants for butterflies and moths.
- Use Integrated Pest Management, and apply pesticides carefully and only when necessary, and use the least toxic pesticides that can accomplish the desired result.