Tips for Pollinator Proliferation

Provide pithy and hollow-stem nesting for native bees. Tunnel-nesting bees are great pollinators of early-blooming fruits and will lay their eggs in hollow tubes such as bamboo, paper tubes and drilled holes, and the pithy stems of staghorn sumac, raspberry and elderberry.

Reduce lawn area and plant wildflowers instead. Reducing lawns by planting a native wildflower border at least three feet wide around them creates more habitat for pollinators. Also, raise your mower height to 4 inches and overseed with clover and other bee-attracting flowering plants.

Connect with neighbors’ habitats. Connectivity of habitat is good for all wildlife, including pollinators. They can find larger areas to mate, lay eggs and visit flowers you plant for them. Consider joining with your neighbors to plant along your property lines.

Join a Pollinator Protection group. Organizations that have stepped up to face this issue include the Pollinator Partnership, the Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation, Friends of the Earth, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
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Bee Safe Nurseries

A recent PW-sponsored survey looked for regional, state and local nurseries whose materials are truly bee safe. These nurseries do not use neonicitinoids in their soils or potting mixes. Thus far, our preliminary results found the following nine nurseries who we consider Bee-Safe:

That’s A Plenty Farm
76 Honey Pot Rd.
Hadley, MA 01035

Nasami Farm
Whately, MA 01093

Tripple Brook Farm
37 Middle Road
Southampton, MA 01073

New England Wetland Plants
820 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002

Project Native
342 North Plain Rd.
Housatonic, MA 01236

Sylvan Nurseries
1028 Horseneck Rd.
Westport, MA 02790

Bigelow Nurseries
455 W Main St,
­­­­­­­­­­Northborough, MA 01532
(508) 845-2143

Food Forest Farm
PO Box 6620
Holyoke, MA

North Creek Nurseries
388 North Creek Rd.
Landenberg, PA 19350
(610) 255-0100

5 Questions to Ask Plant Purveyors

5 Questions to ask Plant Purveyors to see if they are truly selling “Bee-Friendly Plants”

We want them to learn what is in their potting soil:s first, so we can discover if neonicotinoids are in the soils of plants being sold as “bee-friendly”, secondly, we want to see what other systemic pesticides they might be selling. Hopefully we learn and get to educate about the destructive side effects of neonicotinoids before finishing. The order of the questioning matters, and are in my order of asking:

Question 1) Do you carry bee and pollinator-friendly plants? Bee balm, echinacea, hyssop, cosmos, zinnia, asters, lobelia, wild geranium, squill, hyacinths, liatris, lavender, etc.

If Yes, then ask Ques.#3.

If No, then I’ll ask if they would carry bee-friendly plants and pledge not to sell systemic pesticides in the plant pots so those plants can truly become pollinator-friendly. If they seem not to know what is in their soils then education might help them decide. Continue on to question #2.

Question 2) Do you know what is in your potting soil?

If Yes, ask what materials are in the potting mix? To be pollinator-friendly the mix should not have any pesticide, esp. not a neonic.. See list below in #3.

If No, ask Ques. #3.

Question 3) Is it a simple mix of sphagnum moss, perlite with some pesticide- free fertilizer or does it have a pesticide in the soil? If simply moss, perlite and a little fertilizer then thank them for helping pollinators who are in great need of protection..

If No, then what is in your soil?

Question 4) If they have systemics in their potting soil ask what kind? {Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid, Thiamethoxam – (see list)}. If they are selling these hazardous products in potting soils and other garden/farm products to control insects, ask if they would stop selling these highly products that kill bees and butterflies?

Question 5) Ask if they would join with other garden centers and nurseries who do not use these products and pledging not to in the future?

If Yes, thank them for helping to save our primary pollinators who only need wholesome food and places to lay their eggs.


Attract Pollinators to Your Landscape

Our main objective is to increase pollinator habitat by enhancing, protecting and creating new habitats for the 400 species of native bees in New England. Yes bees, because they are the most efficient pollinators. The 2006 status report by the National Academy of Science is a wake up call.
This report points to the need for more research yet time is getting short — and a wave of citizen scientists, aligned with universities and botanical gardens, etc., are starting to gather essential data needed. No time like the present!

The executive summary:

“Pollinators–insects, birds, bats, and other animals that carry pollen from the male to the female parts of flowers for plant reproduction–are an essential part of natural and agricultural ecosystems throughout North America. For example, most fruit, vegetable, and seed crops and some crops that provide fiber, drugs, and fuel depend on animals for pollination. This report provides evidence for the decline of some pollinator species in North America, including America’s most important managed pollinator, the honey bee, as well as some butterflies, bats, bees and hummingbirds. For most managed and wild pollinator species, however, population trends have not been assessed because populations have not been monitored over time, (like honeybees have)…. This report outlines priorities for research and monitoring that are needed to improve information on the status of pollinators and establishes a framework for conservation and restoration of pollinator species and communities.”

One thing is true, creating more habitat does a world of good.