The 3 Beneficial Pollinators You Want in Your Garden
Many people automatically assume insects are bad, that they eat your garden and ruin your hard efforts. While this is true for many harmful insects, there are actually a lot of beneficial insects that eat the bad ones, protect your garden, and help pollinate your plants, thus, producing more fruit. Here are 3 beneficial pollinators you actually want to attract to create a pollinator garden for a more beautiful yard and better yields.
Not a Pollinator Garden without Bees
Bees are extremely important for both home gardens and agriculture. Now, let's get something straight right away. Honey bees and bumble bees are different than wasps and hornets. They do not all sting for no reason!
Bee's will only sting a person if they feel their life is in danger. Why is this? Because when a bee stings a person, the stinger stays in the person's skin which actually kills the bee. Whereas a wasp does not die from stinging.
Bees are extremely important for pollination and most of the time, honey bees, and bumble bees are so intent on going from flower to flower that they do not even notice you working in the garden beside them. Just be careful to not get too close or almost squish one and you will be fine.
So how do you attract more bees to your yard? Bees love Lavender, Alyssum, Echinacea, Yarrow, Sunflowers, Hyssops, Rudbeckia, and Asters. You can also attract bees with flowering vegetables and fruit trees.
Provide your bees with shaded and sheltered areas to give them cover from the sun. Also, make sure there are lots of colors to attract them.
Most importantly, and this is true for all beneficial insects, avoid all pesticides. Pesticides will definitely kill your harmful insects, but they will also kill your beneficial insects.
If you do have a problem with some kind of pest, then use certified organic sprays or homemade sprays from essential oils and apple cider vinegar. There are also many safe traps you can use such as sticky traps for fruit and white-flies.
The Best Plants that Attract Pollinators like Butterflies
Like bees, butterflies are great pollinators for your garden. Also, like the bees, the butterfly populations are decreasing because of the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), particularly, the Monarch butterfly.
To help attract more butterflies to your yard and help the butterfly population, especially if you want to see more Monarchs in your yard, then make sure your plants are all certified organic and part of the Non-GMO Project.
Butterflies love a wide range of flowers including Bee Balm, Aster, Daylily, Butterfly Bush, Delphinium, and Alyssum.
Make sure to plant your butterfly-attracting plants in full sun as butterflies prefer being in full sun. It also helps to plant native plants for your area.
Hummingbirds Make a Pollinator Garden Hum
The last of the three major pollinators for your garden are hummingbirds. These little fast and adorable buzzers are also heavily impacted by pesticides, like all beneficial insects.
To attract hummingbirds, make sure your yard has both insect-pollinating plants and hummingbird plants. Some of their favorite plants are Lupines, Bee Balm, Columbine, Hollyhock, Foxglove, Rose of Sharon, Butterfly Bush, and Honeysuckle.
You can also add a hummingbird feeder to your yard. Make sure the feeder is colorful and offers a pitch. To fill your feeder, mix 4 cups water and 1 cup unbleached natural cane sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and let cool before putting into the hummingbird feeder. Make sure to replace this mixture once a week to keep it fresh and continue attracting your hummingbirds.
Creating a pollinator garden and attracting these three beneficial pollinators will not only provide your yard with life and vibrant colorful blooms but will also help produce large vegetable and fruit yields.