Adopt pollinator-friendly practices

Fundy National Park

Whether or not you plant a garden, there are some easy tips you can follow to make your outdoor space as pollinator-friendly as possible:

  • Turn off outdoor lights!

    Having a few outdoor lights turned on at night seems harmless, right? In fact, outdoor lights cause mayhem for both nocturnal pollinators and migrating birds.

    Helping moths and other nocturnal pollinators is as easy as flicking a switch: Turn those lights off! If you must keep lights on for security reasons, consider switching to motion-sensor lights or using yellow lightbulbs instead of white to reduce impact on wildlife.

  • Reduce mulch!

    Many gardeners find that mulching around trees and among flowers is helpful for adding organic material to the soil, retaining moisture and suppressing weeds. Unfortunately, mulch it is not ideal for pollinators.

    If you have a sunny well-drained site, consider leaving a few areas bare or mulched very lightly so that ground-nesting bees can make themselves at home. Placing a few logs in your garden is another good way of providing natural nesting sites for bees and other insects.

  • Eliminate the use of pesticides, and encourage your friends and family to do the same!

    Weed-free lawns are hard to maintain without constant upkeep and the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. However, if touched or ingested, chemically-treated plants are harmful.

    Ditch the chemicals to keep people, pets, and wildlife healthy!

  • Leave the leaves and other dead plant material!

    Did you know that many beneficial insects overwinter in dead fallen leaves and dried out perennials? When we put fallen leaves and other debris into those big brown paper bags every spring and fall, we are literally kicking next year’s butterflies, moths, and bees to the curb.

    Leaving the leaves where they fall is best! If you must remove the leaves and other dead plant material, consider placing them in a backyard brush pile rather than sending them to the dump. Avoid trimming back dead plants until spring, and if you do be sure to leave a least 20cm of stem so that the plants can continue to provide habitat for countless pollinators and other beneficial insects.

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