Around 75 percent of all plants rely on pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and beetles to spread their pollen. Pollinators are a key part of a healthy ecosystem. Without them, we wouldn't have plants to prevent soil erosion, remove carbon from the air, and provide homes for wildlife.
Native bees, honey bees, and other pollinators are struggling. Threats to pollinators include pesticides that kill them, herbicides that kill their food, habitat loss, disease, and climate change. But you can help! Big or small, creating pollinator habitat where you can will help pollinators.
Bee part of the solution!
What you can do?
- Plant native pollinator-friendly flowering plants.
- Purchase plants and landscaping materials that do not include neonicotinoid pesticides. Ask the seller if seeds or plants have been treated with these chemicals.
- Use non-toxic gardening methods. Herbicides can reduce the food pollinators need for larvae and adult food. Fungicides can also be toxic to pollinators.
- If you see some holes in plant leaves, that may be a good sign of caterpillar foraging. Watch for the next stages of caterpillars and chrysalis on plants, followed by butterflies! Stop and think before you spray anything outdoors.
- Reduce lawn mowing to every 2 to 3 weeks and leave some places free of mulch for ground nesting pollinators.
- Add variety to your lawn! Turf grass is poor habitat for pollinators. Dandelions and clover both provide crucial nectar sources in urban and suburban places, notably in early spring. Better yet, turn your lawn into a wildflower meadow.
- Tell your landlord or HOA to create pollinator-friendly habitats and maintenance policies.
- Install a rain garden to decrease runoff and attract pollinators.
- Put up a native bee hotel or house in your yard.
Image courtesy of Marianne D'Angelo
What is Ann Arbor doing to help pollinators?
- Natural Area Preservation does not use neonicotinoids to maintain City natural areas and parks.
- Our City Council labeled Ann Arbor as a BEE CITY USA and is committed to working towards a pollinator-friendly community.
- Mayor Taylor has signed on to National Wildlife Federation's Mayors' Monarch Pledge and is taking action to protect monarch butterflies.
- Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County are both certified as National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitats.
- The University of Michigan is:
- stopping the use of neonicotinoids in their grounds management
- doing an inventory of pollinator friendly plants in their planting beds
- working to pinpoint pollinator corridors for increased plantings and expansion of natural areas
Questions? Call or email Natural Area Preservation at 734.794.6627 [email protected].