We all need pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds, beetles, and butterflies in order to pollinate the majority of our food sources. Yet, largely because of humans, many of their populations are at risk for extinction.
While it’s mainly the use of pesticides as well as commercial development of natural lands that are responsible for their declining numbers, it’s not entirely out of the everyday person’s control to help them. There are many changes, that if made by many people across the world, can help pollinator population’s grow.
Provide a Water Source
Pollinators, like all living creatures, need water. It’s ok if you don’t have a natural source where you live. You can easily provide one where you live (even if you live in an apartment).
If you decide to get a bird bath or use a shallow dish, make sure to put something just above water for smaller pollinators to sit and sip on. For Butterflies specifically, you can create a puddling area.
If you live in an apartment, try hanging a drip bottle of water outside of your window.
No matter what you choose, make sure to regularly change the water. This way, you’ll keep it fresh and prevent mosquitoes from using it to breed.
Provide A Safe Haven for Pollinators
Shelter is vital for pollinators. It provide them with space for resting and nesting. When they have these spaces, pollinators can better grow their populations.
One option for providing shelter is building or buying a bee or butterfly house.
Some other easier shelter ideas are to provide: dead wood, a pile of cut grass, an area of plain soil, or a mound of dead leaves.
Plant a Pollinator-friendly Garden
One of the most important things to remember when planting a pollinator-friendly garden, is to never use pesticides. Pesticides contain chemicals that cause serious harm to pollinators.
Pollinators also need to eat year round. When planning a garden, make sure to have different plants that will be in bloom for each season.
Some specific plants I recommend are: milkweed which supports monarch caterpillars (the monarch butterfly is an increasingly endangered species), bee balm which supports bees and monarchs, and lavender which supports a wide variety of pollinators.
However, make sure that whatever you plant is native to where you live. Along those lines, try to get rid of any invasive species. Invasive species harm land, plants, and animals local to that area.
The Xerces Society is a great resource for finding pollinator-friendly plants in your region.
Organic farms are better at sustaining pollinator life than non-organic farms for numerous reasons. A large reason is they forgo harmful pesticides that hurt pollinators.
Organic farms are also required to keep up or improve the “natural resources” on their farms. This includes pollinators. As a result, they have to work to create landscapes/use farming techniques that support their local pollinator populations.
By shopping organic whenever possible, you’re supporting the pollinators that rely on these farms.