Pollinator week ended on June 26, but the importance of pollinators in our ecosystem is still relevant. The National Park Service has an initiative called Conservation at Home, aimed to show people how they can help protect and conserve the natural world.
Here are a few tips to help accommodate pollinators this summer:
Limit the use of pesticides in your yard. The chemicals from the pesticides can harm pollinators if consumed in nectar or pollen. Pesticides can be applied at night when pollinators are inactive. Keep pollinators hydrated by setting up a water drinking dish on your window or deck. Place semi-submerged stones in the dish, so pollinators have a place to land without drowning in the water.
Provide a pollinator habitat by planting native flowers that are nectar-rich and attract pollinators like hummingbirds and insects. The pollinator planting guide from the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign has a guide on native flowers in North America. For the country’s northwest region, where Montana is located, plants like button-blazing stars, yellow coneflowers, and common milkweeds are great to plant in your garden. Other options for plants that are pollinator-friendly include butterfly milkweeds, blazing stars, and black-eyed Susans. Use multiple plants for each species of flower for the best results.
Create a nesting or sheltering site outside of your home and customize it for different types of pollinators. Bees and pollinating beetles use tree limbs or logs for nesting while butterflies lay eggs on different plants. Nesting sites for pollinators include trees, bare ground, bee boxes, shrubs, and brush piles. Dead leaves are also great for food and shelter for pollinators.
Help your friendly pollinators this summer by ensuring they have a safe place to eat and drink.