Local Pollinators Need Our Help!
Pollinator populations worldwide are in decline, and they need our help. Whether you have 100 acres of land or just a small garden plot, there are a number of things you can do to encourage diversity and abundance of these vitally important creatures in the landscape:
Develop a Wildflower-Rich Garden
Provide a diverse assortment of nectar and pollen-rich flowers.
Incorporate caterpillar host plants, such as milkweed, for butterfly and moth larva.
Include a variety of flowering shrubs, trees, perennials, and annuals that bloom from spring to fall.
Use flowers of different sizes, shapes, and colors to attract the largest number of pollinator species.
Plant in clumps, rather than single plants. Pollinators will be able to visit more blooms.
Look for a sunny site when choosing a location for your planting.
Minimize your lawn area. And mow what lawn you do have less often and higher, allowing some of the shorter wildflowers such as white clover to bloom.
‘Ditch the Doubles’ Hybridized double flowers are much harder for pollinators to use.
Use more native plants. They often attract more pollinators than non-native plants.
Provide Pollinator Nesting Sites
Leave patches of bare soil in you yard. The majority of native bees are ground nesters.
Include grasses and overgrown areas for nesting and cover sites for pollinators and beneficial insects.
Don’t clean up all plants in the fall. Some insects will use them to overwinter.
Build or buy some bee nesting boxes. Many native bees will thank you.
Just say NO to Pesticides and Herbicides
Most insecticides are highly toxic to pollinators. Try a nonchemical solution to insect problems by promoting and/or purchasing beneficial insects such as ladybugs.
Avoid using herbicides. Many weeds, such as the non-native dandelion, are an important spring nectar and pollen source for pollinators.
All wildlife, not just pollinators, benefit from the absence of insecticides and herbicides in their habitats.
The CCCD Takes Action for Pollinators
A number of groups nationwide have begun work on slowing, and hopefully reversing, the precipitous decline of pollinator populations. The CCCD is at the forefront of the local effort. It began its ‘Pollinator Habitat Initiative’ in 2013 as a way to help landowners manage their property for native pollinators, and to increase awareness of the importance of pollinators and pollinator conservation. The Conservation District received two major grants to install, maintain, and monitor more than 20 pollinator habitat sites around the county. It is still early, but the data the CCCD has collected so far from its pollinator sites regarding pollinator numbers and species diversity is encouraging.
National Pollinator Week 2017, an initiative of The Pollinator Partnership, runs from Monday, June 19th – Sunday June 25th. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of National Pollinator Week and here in Cheshire County we are celebrating with a County-wide Pollinator Tour!
Join us on Saturday, June 24th as we tour some of Cheshire County’s best pollinator habitat projects and discuss the importance of establishing, supporting, and protecting pollinator habitats. Stops on the Tour include: Stonewall Farm, the Cheshire County Farm, Alyson’s Orchard, and Distant Hill Gardens. Each stops will offer an educational workshop free to the public. Join us at one or all of our stops, starting at 10am and ending at 4pm, to learn about the value pollinators play in the health and vitality of our local ecosystems and economy.
Written by: Michael Nerrie - CCCD Associate Board Member