What are pollinators and why are they important?
Pollinators are animals that interact with flowers and transfer pollen from one flower to another. They are essential members of our communities. Some examples include birds, bees, butterflies and flies.
○ 75-95% flowering plants need pollinators to produce seeds.
○ By pollinating crops, more than $200 billion is added to our global economy.
Native pollinators are in decline due to a variety of factors, so a better understanding of how to support them is important since many of our native flowering plants and food are dependent on pollinators. We can support pollinators by planting the best plants throughout our urban environments — creating pollinator corridors in our backyards, balconies, community gardens, in parks, and along roadways — which will all make a difference!
Do you enjoy nature photography or are interested in pollinator research?
How to do a pollinator count
- Include a variety of tube sizes, as different species prefer different diameters of tubes. Tubes should be at least 6 inches long with an opening that can be anywhere from ¼” to ½” in diameter.
- Bee hotels should face south or east and should only have one entrance (the back should be sealed). Try to find locations that will not be disturbed and are shielded from rain and wind.
- Keep them clean. With the high density of habitats, there is a greater risk of pest infestation. Remove any tubes that have debris or are inhabited by non-bees at the end of the summer. Tubes inhabited by bees can be removed and placed in a fridge over the autumn and fall.
- Place bee boxes outdoors beginning in April. Different species of bumble bees emerge between April to June, so their home should be available to as many species as possible.
- The entrance of the box should face north. Bumble bees are heat sensitive and the direct sun can damage colonies.
- Leave them alone! If your box is successfully inhabited, it is best to avoid disturbing them too much.
- Take down/clean boxes in late September to early October. Once the colony is no longer productive, it is best to clean out the box to avoid pest infestations.