There is a lot of talk about helping the bees and other pollinators this spring and summer.  No Mow May is a popular trend across many areas, yet this has been criticized by experts at the University of Guelph as not being the best approach to help pollinators.  So what will help pollinators?

A pollinator is an animal that helps plants reproduce by transferring pollen from one plant to another.  This action is critical in the production of plants and crops.  Types of pollinators include:

  • bats
  • bees
  • beetles
  • birds
  • butterflies
  • flies
  • moths
  • wasps

In order to help the environment, plants, and these pollinators, we are best to create spaces where they can feed and seek shelter.  Here are the steps to follow to help pollinators.

Change some of your grading habits:

  • Leave some natural debris such as dead stems and dry leaves – this is ideal habitat for overwintering insects and materials for birds to make nests in the spring
  • Avoid lawn chemicals
  • Use a rake instead of a leaf blower – leaf blowers can create pollution but also destroy habitat by removing too much debris and eroding/drying out soil

Plant pollinator friendly plants:

  • Bees like flowers that are blue, purple, white, and yellow. Butterfly and hummingbirds are attracted to red.
  • Plant a single species of flower in one meter clumps to help the pollinators minimize travel.
  • Reduce nighttime outdoor lighting – artificial lighting can impede navigation, reproduction, and the ability to find food.
  • Attract hummingbirds. Hummingbirds don’t just eat nectar and pollinate plants, they also eat insects such as mosquitoes. Hummingbirds like brightly coloured and tubular flowers such as cardinal flower, blue flag iris, bee balm, bergamot, wild columbine, etc.

Plant the right plants: