By Allen Lawrance, Associate Curator of Entomology
There are a few simple things that anyone can do if they have garden or even a porch at home.
Provide nectar resources
Grow flowering plants if you have the space. Even potted plants or a container garden can provide a valuable food source for pollinators passing through. If possible, try to select plants carefully so there is something in bloom for the entire season, spring to fall. For butterflies, you can also look into host plants of butterflies common to your area.
Pollinators don’t just need food, they also need shelter. For an insect this can be small. For example, leaving a brush pile in part of your garden can provide nesting habitat for bumble bees. Raising the bed of your lawn mower and mowing less frequently if possible can also provide additional habitat. For native bees, you can purchase a “bee hotel” or bundle together an assortment of hollow bamboo sticks. Just be sure to either replace or disinfect your native bee homes each year to prevent spreading diseases.
Limit use of pesticides
Only use pesticides when absolutely required. Look into integrated pest management strategies for any specific issues in your garden that will help reduce reliance on pesticides.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can look into further resources and get your garden certified as a monarch waystation (like the Nature Museum!). You can also help monitor pollinators by contributing to citizen science programs like BeeSpotter or iNaturalist.
Special thanks to Emily for today’s question!