By Rebecca Bartel, USFWS
Here are 5 simple steps you can take to help pollinators:
Plant: Provide habitat for a variety of pollinators by planting a pollinator garden. To attract pollinators to your yard, choose native plants of different colors, shapes, and heights. Creating variety in flower color and shape will increase the diversity of pollinators that will use the space! Need help in identifying which plants are native in your area? Check through the Native Plant Societies in your area or explore native planting guides available through the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign and Pollinator Partnership.
(Photo: Laura Perlick/USFWS)
Build: Create structures for pollinators that nest or roost. Free plans are available for construction of a bee block for solitary bees use small cavities. Want to attract bats to your yard? In addition to pollination, bats also can help by eating insects—including mosquitoes! Bats just don't live in caves, many species use trees, bridges, or buildings as roost sites. By building a bat house, you can provide habitat for bats in your yard.
Avoid: Limit or avoid using pesticides. These chemicals often kill other species including pollinators in addition to the targeted pests. Some pesticide residues can kill pollinators for several days after the pesticide is applied. For recommendations on how to minimize impacts of pesticides to pollinators, check out these tips.
Watch: Get involved in pollinator monitoring! There are numerous citizen science projects that observe pollinators and their host plants and habitats. Examples include Nature’s Notebook, Project Budburst, Journey North, Monarch Watch, The Great Sunflower Project, and Operation Ruby Throat. Some of these programs are currently occurring on various national wildlife refuges. You can contact your local national wildlife refuge to get involved as a volunteer or as a member of their Friends group.
Talk: Spread the word and create a 'buzz' about pollinators and pollinator conservation. Let your family and neighbors know about safe pollinator practices. To participate in ongoing pollinator events this week, find one near you through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service events page or through our partners at the Pollinator Partnership.
You can make a difference in protecting pollinators!
Rebecca Bartel, Ph.d., is part of the Inventory and Monitoring Network in the National Wildlife Refuge System. She works at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.