Helping Our Native Pollinators

By National Gardening Association Editors

By now, most of us have heard of the threat to honeybees from colony collapse disorder, a mysterious ailment that can decimate entire hives, and the concern over the impact of this decline on our farm and garden crops. As researchers work to understand what is causing this disorder, we gardeners can do our part to encourage healthy populations of other pollinators.

While the honeybee is an introduced species, there are over 4000 species of native bees that play an important role in pollinating many plants. Often our desire for a neat, tidy garden decreases the habitat that encourages these important natives to nest. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has published a collection of fact sheets that tell organic gardeners and farmers how they can minimize gardening practices that harm insect pollinators and give ideas for ways to boost local populations. Included are fact sheets with suggestions for 'bee-friendly' plants for different regions of the country, as well as ideas for increasing nesting sites, habitat management, and organic-approved insecticides that minimize risks to pollinators.

For more information, go to: Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

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