Bees make the world go 'round. In fact, bees are responsible for 80 percent of the pollination in the world. Furthermore, honey bees pollinate 1/3 of all fruits and vegetables. Without bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds, supermarkets would have a much smaller produce section. If you want to help encourage pollination and healthy food production, you can start a pollinator garden in your own backyard.
Choosing the Right Landscaping
The right type of plants will attract pollinators to your garden. Here are a few good choices:
- Native plants: Since they have evolved together, native plants are best for meeting the needs of native pollinators.
- Continuous blooming: A bumblebee's life cycle is from March to September. For this reason, you'll want to have a variety of plants that bloom throughout the season. Good spring flowers for pollinators include bluebells and daffodils. Choices for early summer plants include snapdragons and thyme. Finally, single flowered dahlias are popular picks for late summer.
- Pollinator-friendly flower choices: Some plants are better at attracting pollinators. For instance, due to a simple design, single flowers allow pollinators to easily access the pollen. Purple flowers, such as lavender, are easier for bees to see. Butterflies like red, yellow, and orange flowers and hummingbirds are partial to red, fuchsia, and purple blooms. Finally, tubular flowers, like honeysuckle, are other pollinator favorites.
- Variety: Just like humans, pollinators have different needs throughout their lifetime. Planting a wide variety of vegetation will attract different types of pollinators and keep them coming back for more. In fact, an area with at least 10 different flowering plants will entice bees to visit your garden.
Professional landscaping services are a great resource for helping you pick out the right plants for your pollinator garden.
Pollinators need water for plenty of reasons, including drinking and reproduction. If you don't have a natural water source such as a pond, you can create one. Adding a birdbath or wide saucer with water are two simple ways to do this. To prevent your pollinators from drowning, you'll want to do the following:
- Add sand and then fill the container with water that goes a quarter inch above the sand.
- Add flat stones. Some should come above the water and others should be right at the surface.
- To prevent mosquitos from congregating, you should change the water about two or three times a week.
Pollinators enjoy a place to take refuge from predators and inclement weather. A compost pile, vegetations trimmings, or a dead log are a few options. For bees, you can also create an artificial nesting box with holes drilled into it. Simply follow these easy steps:
- Drill holes into a wooden block. The holes should be ¾ of an inch apart. To attract mason bees, you should make the holes six inches deep but make sure not to drill through the block. The holes should be 5/16 of an inch wide.
- Put the box under an overhang, or your home's eaves, away from direct sunlight. The box should be about three feet above the ground.
By following these tips, your garden will soon be buzzing with activity!