Eco-Saturday: Protecting pollinators

pondfloatiesweb

Here’s a quick, super-easy project for anyone who owns a pond, pool or other water source.

Pollinators will see backyard ponds and pools as ideal spots to stop for a drink, especially as the weather warms up. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a safe spot for them to land, they’ll drown.

If you have a backyard pond, your best bet is to toss a water lily or maybe some water lettuce or water hyacinth in there. (Be careful with water hyacinth and water lettuce, as they are invasive species that can wreak havoc if they get into waterways in some areas. They’re OK for small, ornamental ponds that aren’t connected to any streams, creeks or rivers, but I wouldn’t use them in low-lying areas where floodwaters could carry them into local waterways. They do have the advantage of being relatively cheap and spreading quickly, however, which makes them a good choice for shading ornamental ponds to prevent algae bloom.)

If your plants haven’t started growing well yet — or if your water source is a pool rather than a pond — you can recycle wine corks, plastic lids or polystyrene cups into landing pads for pollinators. I cut the bottoms out of polystyrene coffee cups and tossed them into the pond this spring before my plants took hold. They weren’t pretty, but they did the job and kept my bees safe until I got a good assortment of plants.

If you don’t have a pond or pool but would like to provide a safe place for bees, wasps and butterflies to grab a sip of water, cover the bottom of a shallow dish with pebbles and pour just enough water in it to reach the tops of the pebbles so critters can get a drink without drowning.

Emily

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