Pollinators need you. You need pollinators!
Who are the pollinators?
- ants, birds, bees, butterflies, beetles, flies, moths, wasps and other small mammals visit flowers to drink nectar or feed off of pollen and transport pollen grains as they move from spot to spot
- bees are the major pollinators in North America, performing over 70% of the pollination services with 855 species of native bees in Canada
- wind and water also play a role in the pollination of many plants
- there are over 1000 species of pollination animals in Canada
Why are pollinators important?
- between 75% and 95% of all flowering plants on the earth need help with pollination
- pollinators provide that service to over 1,800,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops
- literally, 1 out of 3 bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators
- pollinators also support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather and support other wildlife
- the beneficial insects and animals are under pressure from loss of habitat (where they nest and eat), pets and disease, pesticides, invasive species and climate change
How can we help?
- adding natural habitat areas in your gardens
- plant for continuous bloom throughout the growing season from spring to fall
- know your garden and select appropriate plant material (got questions? We can help!)
- plant in clusters (groups of 3, 5 or 7) to create a ‘target’ for pollinators to find
- include larval host plants in your landscape (caterpillars will eat them and thank you for them!)
- select a site that is sheltered from wind, has at least partial sun and can provide water
- allow material from dead branches and logs to remain as nesting sites and allow patches of bare ground for ground-nesting bees to use
- reduce the use of pesticides and choose less toxic material possible
- support local bees and beekeepers by purchasing local honey products
Other ways to feed the pollinators
- provide a hummingbird feeder with 4 parts water to 1 part white sugar, clean the feeder regularly to keep it free from mould
- butterflies appreciate other items such as rotting fruit, try putting out slices of overripe bananas, oranges and other fruits