The news we share is often not good. Native bees, monarch butterflies and a host of other pollinators are still in peril and sharing that information with as many people as we can is important. Knowledge is essential for action and change to happen.
Habitat fragmentation and loss, the use of neoniconoids and other pesticides and herbicides (by the agriculture/horticulture industry and home owners) and the introduction of non-native species are known causes of both wide-scale losses in biological diversity and pollinator declines.
But, we must not give into despair or throw in the trowel...We can help pollinators.
It's really quite easy, we must plant more flowers.
Flowers that have a range of shapes and sizes to attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and even flies!
Early blooming flowers that are pollinated by gnats and flies or the occasional honeybee out and about on warm days.
Flowers, trees and shrubs that are hosts for the larva of caterpillars and beneficial bugs.
Flowers that are native to our part of the gardening world.
Annuals and herbs are also attractive to pollinators and beneficial insects.
There's one other thing that we can do to help pollinators!
|Learn to accept that there is beauty in imperfection and step away from the bug spray!|
A corollary to not using pesticides in our gardens is to make sure that any plants we bring into our gardens have not been pre-treated with neurotoxic pesticides known as neonicotinoids. They're systemic pesticides that have been found in the pollen and nectar of commonly sold bee-friendly plants. Scientists now suspect that even small doses, like those that might be in a plant's pollen and nectar, can act to confuse the bees, making it hard to collect food and/or find their way to their hives. (go here for full Pesticide Research Institute study)
So what's a gardener to do!
We can ask our independent garden centers to stock plants that are not pre-treated with systemic insecticides or to identify the ones that have been treated.
We can look for locally grown organic plants.
We can grow our own.
We can share and trade plants with other gardeners.
We can become proactive and seek change~ Get the word out and work toward change of state and federal guidelines.
We can change our perception of beauty to include the damaged petals and leaves of plants not treated with systemics.
It might not be easy, but, they're so worth the effort.
In case you want to read earlier pollinator posts~
Now Is The Time To Bee-gin Thinking About Bees ( here)
This Is The Place To Bee ( here)
If You Could Plant Only One Plant In Your Garden~Don't (here)
Must Bee The Season of The Witch (here)
Go Bare In Your Garden (here)
We can't All Be Pretty Pollinators (here)
Eye, Eye Skipper, Big Eyed Pollinators (here)
What's In Your Garden (here)
Royalty In The Garden~Monarch Butterfly (here)
Carpenter Bees (here)
It's Spring and A Gardener's Thoughts Are On Pollinators (here)
The Wildflower and The Bee (here)
A Few Good Reasons To Plant Milkweek (here)
Got Shade? You Can Have Pollinators ( (here)
A Pollinator friendly Shrub (here)
Big Goings On at C and L (here)
Where Have All My Pollinators Gone (here)
Other bee posts you might want to read~
Count Yourself Lucky To Have Hoverflies ( here)
Bumblebee Hotel (here)
Still Taking Care Of Bzzness (here)
My Sweet Embraceable You (here)
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.