|Illustration © Holly Ward Bimba|
When it comes to the variety of creatures that pollinate, well, that’s a very big group, and some of them will likely surprise you. Of course, most of us know that domestic honeybees are great pollinators, but there are loads of other types of bees that pollinate plants, many of them much more efficient at the process than honeybees. There are butterflies and moths, some beetles and wasps (which can also be beneficial insects to help with insect pest management), and even some types of houseflies that help out in the process of pollination. Of course, those beautiful hummingbirds and very useful bats are also important pollinators.
|Bug Patrol HQ: The bat house at Tammi’s farm|
Pollinators live in all sorts of interesting places. Many are ground dwelling creatures, especially native bees, most of which live solitary lives and do not sting. There are other pollinators that live inside hollowed out branches. Bumblebees even recycle empty mouse nests into bumblebee nesting homes. You can buy or build nesting boxes for mason bees and hang them up around your gardens. Chris made some really cool mason bee boxes for our garden the year before last.
|Mason bee nesting boxes built by Chris Hartung|
Encouraging pollinators of all types, especially native pollinators, isn’t difficult to do when you have a bit of foresight into what they like. Encouraging them with a smorgasbord of flowers to forage on, providing places where they can nest, and making sure that they have a pesticide-free environment to visit will mean that you will see a lot of them in your garden. They will be going about their work of pollinating your flowers, and if those flowers are fruits and vegetable plants, you can expect an improved harvest yield as the direct result of their hard work.
If you would like some additional ideas, I hope you will check out my new book, The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener, or visit my blog at DesertCanyonFarm.wordpress.com. Enjoy!
With Green Thoughts,
A medical herbalist and certified organic grower, Tammi Hartung is the author of The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener and Homegrown Herbs. She and her husband operate Desert Canyon Farm in Colorado, where they grow more than 175 medicinal, rare, and native plants. For more ideas, visit Tammi’s blog, Desert Canyon Farm Green Thoughts.
Read Tammi’s recent blog posts on creating a wildlife-friendly hedgerow and using beneficial insects to manage pests.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •Do you have a Facebook account? Enter our Wildlife-Friendly Giveaway!
We're giving away a copy of The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener and a lovely "Rosemary Sprig" print by illustrator Holly Ward Bimba to one lucky winner. All you need to do is a leave a comment on our Wildlife-Friendly Facebook post telling us what wildlife you see in your garden. Enter by 4:30 Eastern Time on March 21! (You must have a Facebook account to enter. Fine print available when you visit Facebook.)