The fate of pollinators
How to protect pollinators
The good news is that we can have our almonds, peaches and tomatoes and also protect the bees. Simply expanding the menu for honey bees can go a long way. In his research, Niño followed the effect of putting mustard plants in almond orchards. When bees have access to this “extra forage”, more of them survive all year round. Niño discovered that having this boost for nutrition allows bees to live longer and decreases the probability of colony loss.
For wild pollinators, incorporating rows of forage vegetation between crop fields can help maintain them. Even weeds growing in drainage ditches can be food sources for butterflies, Shapiro said. Just a slice of land left alone for wild insects can go a long way in preventing their decline. (That, and, of course, tackling the global climate crisis.)
Even if you’re not a farmer, you can still help pollinators. After hearing about honey bee mortality, people often want to try their hand at beekeeping. If that’s you, Niño advised you to take on the project armed with science-based practices. Poor management can lead to disease in colonies, and sometimes disease can spread outside the cervixonly. Niño runs the California Master Beekeeper program, which offers courses ranging from the basics of backyard beekeeping to managing business operations.
The easiest option to help bees and butterflies, however, is to plant more pollinator-friendly vegetation in your garden. The UC Davis Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven website offers suggestions on what to plant, and Art Shapiro’s Butterfly site offers advice on how to attract butterflies. “I like to tell people that we actually live in this moving sea of butterflies, they are around us all the time moving through cities and suburbs habitats, looking for resources,” Shapiro said. “If you plant the right resources, you will increase their probability of survival.”
You can also choose native plants that provide food for hummingbirds. Although hummingbird feeders can also be useful, they should be cleaned regularly – in hot summer weather, which is to say daily – to prevent sugar water from fermenting or developing bacteria. harmful microbes, Tell said.
Even non-native plants can help feed butterflies, Shapiro said. “There is a myth that only native plants are useful. In a context of general decline, some of our landscaping choices have even supported new species. The Gulf Fritillary – a large, bright orange butterfly – is native to the southern and central United States and South America. But thanks to the popularity of passionflower, its host plant, in gardens, the fritillary has spread widely in the north Central Valley over the past 15 years. “At a time when we are losing butterfly species, it’s good to have gained one,” Shapiro said.