One of our goals as a company is to help encourage ecosystems to harbor pollinators and help them thrive. Our device is designed for honey bee colonies, but we strive to raise awareness of the struggles of other pollinators, including native bees, butterflies, bats, and birds as well. Especially as the temperatures rise this summer, pollinators can face a food and habitat scarcity. Here is your call to action:
Plant a pollinator-friendly garden!
Offer pollinators a diverse spread of flowers. Many bees, including honey bees, need a varied diet with sugars, proteins, lipids, and minerals. By varying the types of flowers, gardens can provide pollinators with both the pollen and nectar they need. Try to incorporate plants that bloom at different times across the summer and remember, diversity is key!
Cornell Cooperative Extension suggests planting from the mint family and the “carrot” family, like dill and golden alexanders, which have many small flowers that produce nectar. Native wildflowers are essential for pollinators to thrive; in Ithaca, sunflowers, lupine, violets, daisies, hydrangeas, and black locust are great for bees. Milkweed, swamps milkweed, Joe Pye Weed, and goldenrod species are also central to pollinator’s diets especially around Ithaca and Upstate New York. You may see goldenrod or milkweed as just that - a weed! However, goldenrod nectar provides one of the final major nectar sources for honey bees making honey before the winter. In years when the goldenrod bloom is poor, honey bees can struggle during the winter.
You can help provide additional forage for pollinators just by changing how you manage your lawn by letting some of your clover and dandelions grow to flower. Perhaps allow your lawn to grow out a little longer before you mow, or set your mower at a height that allows clover flowers to bloom beneath the cut height. Clover is a great producer of both nectar and pollen for many insect pollinators.
As the summer temperatures rise, some pollinators like wasps can get adventurous in their quest for food. By planting a garden, hopefully, your resident pollinators won’t be so desperate for food that they get curious and raid your sweet drinks and picnic snacks.
We are so grateful for a fabulous spring, and we look forward to an eventful summer. Happy gardening!