How to feed the pollinators that work your crops

The Xerxes Society is one of the best Invertebrate Conservation organizations in the US. They are involved in every aspect of insect, bee, butterfly, dragonfly, etc. life and provide a lot of information on how to promote invertebrates. They have some great publications. There is one from their website is called, “Insectary Cover Cropping in California”. Thought it may be of interest to people who have land to farm, or even in learning how to promote beneficial insects in your own yard.

When you are growing food to eat in your own garden or patio, it is important to attract pollinators to your plants, so that they can produce fruits and vegetables. Bees, butterflies, flies, wasps and moths are your “worker insects”. As they collect pollen on their bodies when they are drinking flower nectar, they spread the pollen to other plants and so help each blossom become a fruit or vegetable. Bees are the ones who get most of the credit for pollinating, and do a majority of the work. That is why we are concerned with the decline in bee numbers. Without bees we are doomed in the food chain. We need all invertebrates and they need us!

So how do you attract insects to your area? If you have limited space, plant at least one pot with flowers that bees and other insects love, such as portulaca, holly hocks, sunflowers, basil, etc. These grow in hot environments with water and care. They love the sun. You can plant flowers and vegetables, and flowers and fruit plants in the same pot or raised bed area. When we plant more flowers for food, we are stretching habitat and creating a larger area for insects and health. This will help ensure a sustainable environment for planting and growing food.

The link to the publication is below.

https://www.xerces.org/publications/guidelines/insectary-cover-cropping-in-california

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