Protecting Pollinators

Protecting Pollinators and populations, how can you help?

One way, is by respecting them.

People often fear pollinators — especially bees — because we are afraid of being stung. Or you may find their presence around your flowers annoying. They aren't the enemy, we're very, very dependent on them.

Okay, bee nests need to be eliminated if they're near doorways or in other places humans frequent, but otherwise, leave them alone. Bees are unlikely to sting you unless you antagonize them, he said, so just stay calm.

Another way to protect pollinators is to make our yards welcoming to them.

Monarda in bloom

Plant native plants that give the pollinators places to feed or lay their eggs, and provide a source of clean water. Even if you're allergic to pollen, these probably aren't plants that will give you trouble. Most allergy sufferers are bothered by wind-borne pollen, whereas the pollen grains moved by animals are usually bigger and heavier.

In addition to planting for pollinators, you can Protect Pollinators when you reduce your use of herbicides, insecticides and other types of pesticides, and being careful about those you do use. Apply them in a way that's least likely to harm pollinators, such as applying herbicides to problem plants by hand, using them at night or applying them to plants that are no longer in bloom.

Buying local honey helps too, it keeps beekeepers in business, and beekeepers keep honeybees thriving.

The beauty of helping and Protecting Pollinators, is that the effects are so apparent. When you make a change, you'll see a result right where you live.


Friendly Yard Tips:

Protect and Go native.

Plant things that pollinating creatures like, either as food or as a place to lay eggs.

Our native butterflies require native plants as hosts for their young.

Without native plants, populations dwindle and in many cases certain butterflies and insects are on protected lists.

Never under estimate the importance of native plants and pollinators and your roll of Protecting them.

You might even replace some of your lawn with plants that offer food while protecting pollinators. You don't have to rip up the whole lawn. Just share.

Mix it up.

Aim to have something in bloom in your yard all season long. Ideally, include at least one type of plant that blooms as early in the season as possible.

Plant in clumps.

Group several plants of a single type together. That way the pollinators can easily take pollen from one plant to another of the same kind, promoting genetic diversity.

You also help to Protect Pollinators with clumps they can hide in or lay eggs, etc.

Provide clean water.

We don't think about fresh water for insects, but all life needs water.

Protecting Pollinators with something as a simple as a bowl of fresh water is beneficial. Or provide an area of damp sand to encourage puddling by butterflies, an activity in which males take up the salts they need for sperm production.

Protection in my yard

Shelter your garden.

Provide some sort of windbreak so the pollinators won't be so buffeted that they can't hang onto the plants.

Sometimes it can be a simple as a board leaning against the shed or a tree.

Recommendations for Minimizing Pesticide Impacts and Protecting Pollinators.

Poisoning of non-target insects,
including bees, and other pollinators are more likely to occur when plants are in bloom. Several precautions can minimize the impact to non-target insects and other pollinators. The following are some suggestions that may minimize the impacts of pesticide use to non-target organisms (Protecting Pollinators).

Use the least toxic pesticide recommended for control of the target pest at the lowest effective rate.

Avoid applying pesticides while crops or wildflowers adjacent to or near fields are in bloom.

If pesticides must be applied while crops are in bloom, apply in late afternoon or at night when pollinators are least likely to be working the blooms. However, note the "Caution" below.

Always target pesticide applications to avoid contaminating water, habitat of rare species, and adjacent wildflowers.

Reduce the amount of drift by using ground equipment instead of aerial spraying to apply pesticides. When pesticides are applied by aircraft, as much as 50% to 75% of the chemicals sprayed can miss their target, leading to inadvertent exposure of non-target organisms such as pollinators .

Black swallowtail butterfly

Avoid drift of pesticides onto plants that are attractive to bees by not spraying under windy conditions.

Rinse pesticide tanks thoroughly between pesticide applications to avoid cross-contamination of pesticides.

Use the pesticide formulation least hazardous to bees that will control the pest involved.

Use liquid sprays or granules instead of dusts.

Notify beekeepers several days before applying any pesticide that is hazardous to honey bees.

Develop and implement training programs to increase awareness and knowledge of pollinators and their activity patterns among pesticide applicators.

Develop public outreach information to heighten awareness of the potential role that pesticides may play in the decline of pollinators.

Spring Azure butterfly


While timing application to avoid flowering periods or diurnal activity periods may reduce the impacts of pesticides to many pollinators, some pollinators, such as Normia bees that rest in crop fields overnight, may be harmed by nighttime application of pesticides. Similarly, moths that are active at night may be harmed by nighttime application of pesticides.

Regardless of application time, if toxins remain on plant parts, pollinators such as leafcutter bees still
may be harmed if they bring contaminated leaves back to their nest and this is not Protecting Pollinators.

Likewise, the larvae of butterflies that pollinate plants may be harmed by ingesting toxins remaining on plant parts.

Beneficial Insects and their larvae like Lady Beetles, Assassin bugs and so on are effected and die off from pesticides, leading to a larger pest problem than you first had.

Quotes From Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director.

The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century."

Honey bee

"The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.

"Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature.

The Importance of Protecting Pollinators Leaves no Doubt.

Protecting Pollinators, return to the top of this Page

Pollinators Main Page

Pollination Primers


What Are Pollen Sacs

Bumble Bees

Orchard Mason Bees

Ground Bees

Squash Bees

Honey Bees






Bees, Butterflies, Birds and More.

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