Colorful butterflies and buzzing bees in your yard or lawn are always fascinating to watch. However, these pollinators do so much more than just entertaining us. The fundamental role of these species is to help spark life on this planet. Also, here’s an interesting fact. According to studies, all the pollinators together are responsible for one out of every three bites of food that human beings eat each day.
Without the pollinators, we will gradually lose the world as we know it.
Therefore, it’s of paramount importance that we do everything in our capacity to provide them with a safe environment devoid of harmful chemicals and pesticides.
Here are a few things that we can do to attract pollinators in our lawn –
Plant a Diverse Array of Plant Species
Different pollinators respond to different flowers. If bees prefer white, yellow, blue and purple, humming birds are naturally attracted to red colored blooms. Again, when it comes to butterflies, they mostly prefer the purple and red tones.
So, if you fill your yard with a variety of colorful flowers that bloom from spring to fall, not only will your yard look and smell great but also ring with the hum of bees and the flutter of butterflies.
Planting a variety of bloom shapes that range from wide and narrow to tall and short will also help you to draw a diverse group of pollinators.
Planting Native Species
It’s important that we include some native species in our backyard as being local, the species will be less prone to harmful diseases caused by pests than the imported ones.
Another advantage of planting native species is that they naturally attract native pollinators. A bit of research into your local soil and climate can reveal a lot about which native plants or trees are best suited for your backyard.
Avoid the Use of Pesticides
The single most important reason as to why bees are disappearing today is the unchecked use of pesticides in farms and backyard gardens. Therefore if you want to support pollinators, you should immediately refrain from spraying toxic pesticides in your yard.
If you have to use some pesticides, it is crucial that you apply them selectively and carefully. It’s never a good idea to spray pesticides on full open blossoms or flowers when bees and butterflies are hovering around.
There is absolutely no need to protect your yard from insects using strong chemicals. Even certain organic pesticides available in the market can be as dangerous as the chemical ones to bees and other beneficial organisms.
Instead, leave the job to natural predator insects like ladybugs and wasps. They will take care of what needs to be kept out of your lawn.
Provide a Safe Shelter
All pollinators need a safe place such as a dead tree, a compost pile, or a hedge to hide from predators and raise their young. Your job is to provide them with such a retreat.
If you leave a part of your lawn unattended, it will naturally grow wild and become a ground-nesting place for the bees. Or if you allow a dead tree to stand its ground, it can serve as a nesting space for butterflies as well as solitary bees.
Cluster planting is another way to go about as this allows pollinators to move easily from one flower to the other, encouraging thorough pollination of the plants.
Ensure Food and Water
As humans benefit from consuming a diverse diet, so do the pollinators. Plant a variety of flowers in your lawn and create a feast for them.
Since pollinators get vital nutrients such as sugar and amino acids from nectar, having flowers, vegetables, and shrubs that have a blooming period spanning right from early spring to late fall, can help them have their share of protein in plenty.
It’s also important that you have some weeds in your backyard as they also serve pollen to the bees and butterflies. Scattered dandelions, creeper vine, and milkweeds in your garden might not be visually appealing to you, but to the pollinators they are an à la carte.
Pollinators also need water alongside food. Installing a birdbath or a structure that has fresh water can help pollinators to quench their thirst. However, be wary of allowing any structure in your lawn to accumulate stagnant water as it can easily turn into the breeding ground for bacteria and parasites.
All types of pollinators are struggling to maintain a healthy population due to loss of natural habitat, prolonged pesticide use and various diseases caused by toxic chemicals. Providing pollinators with simple resources such as food, water and shelter can go a long way to prevent and protect their species from a steady decline.
When pollination is essential for almost one-third of our entire food crops, it is important to remember no step in helping pollinators is either too small or too big. If each one of us does our little bits, we can all contribute significantly in saving our food supply.