If you follow environmental news at all, then you’re aware of the steady decline of pollinating insects, like bees and monarch butterflies, which are currently at historical lows. We rely on these pollinators for fertilization and reproduction of 75% of our food, and 90% of the world’s plants. This is a crisis, as our lives depend on the regeneration of plants – pollination is simply an invaluable service!
Did you know? Honey bees aren’t actual native to Canada. They’re originally imported from Europe and are very different from native bees. Honey bees colonize in hives, and native bees are solitary and live in the ground.
So why are pollinators dying by the billions?
The two main reasons why pollinating insects are dying is due to habitat loss, like turning fields into suburbs, which is particularly detrimental to native bees who bury in the ground, and pesticide use, which is causing honey bee colonies to collapse because bees are bringing pesticides back to the hives.
Feeling helpless? Don’t! There are things that we all can do – increasing pollinator habitat, and eliminating pesticide use are just a couple! It may sound simple, but it’s an easy way to do your part!
8 Things You Can Do!
1. Don’t ever use pesticides – even low levels of pesticide use can affect bee longevity, memory, navigation and foraging abilities.
2. Leave the buttercup and clover growing in your lawn, and if you can bear it, leave the dandelion too!
3. Encourage teachers in your local schools to educate their students about the importance of pollinating animals and insects, and suggest that they grow pollinator friendly plants for the kids to take home and plant – after all, our children are our future!
4. Opt for organic food, and support farmers who don’t use pesticides.
5. Plant a pollinator friendly garden!
6. DO NOT buy flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides, in particular, neonics.
7. Plant a meadow instead of a lawn. Try this “Alternative Lawn Mix” from West Coast Seeds.
8. Encourage your local council to implement pollinator-friendly policies and to maintain and enhance pollinator habitat.
Planting a Pollinator Friendly Garden
Planting a variety of native, pollinator-friendly plants is a great way to increase the declining habitat and attract pollinators to your yard. Your vegetable garden will thank you too!
Pollinator Friendly Plants
- Milkweed (a particularily important habitat for monarch butterflies!)
- Crimson Clover
- Fox Glove
- Black-eyed Susan
- Blue Mink
- False Queen Anne’s Lace
- Lacy Mix
- Godetia pinks
- Dwarf Bouquet
- Marine Heliotrope
- Dwarf Blend