To help support a diversity of different types of pollinators, plant a diversity of native flowering plants. Bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects need nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing season so include plants with different flower colors, fragrances, and shapes from early spring to fall.
Blue, purple, violet, white and yellow flowers are particularly attractive to native bees. Plants that provide nectar and pollen for bees include aster, beebalm, boneset, goldenrod, Joe-pye weed, milkweed, basswood, service berry, sunflower, cosmo, purple coneflower, squill, lavender, basil, borage, elderberry, blueberry, rhododendron, lupine, hawthorn, spiderwort, Russian sage, catmint and willo. Bees need areas with twigs, brush piles, stones and other natural shelter to lay their eggs and to spend the winter. Ground nesting bees require direct access to soil in well drained, sunny areas creating small, circular holes in the ground surrounded by small piles of dirt. Wood nesting bees are found in pithy twig or vine centers, rotting wood and existing cavities in wood. Only carpenter bees chew their own nest cells into soft wood; others require existing holes. Bumble bees are generalists in their nesting habits and can be found under leaves, in old mouse nests and other preexisting cavities, above or below ground. Natural nesting sites for bees can be supplemented by adding mason bee houses or bundles of hollow plant stems.
|If you look carefully at the goldenrod you'll see at least 5 busy bees.|
|Bee on monarda (commonly know as bee balm)|
|Bee on coneflower|
|Red Admiral butterfly|
Butterflies often need specific host plants to feed on during their caterpillar stage. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on leaves of milkweed plants, therefore preserving these native plants is crucial in protecting the Monarch butterfly. The Wild Ones Monarchs Committee encourages YOU to collect milkweed seeds and plant them. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is generally the preferred host plant of Monarchs, while Swamp (A. incarnata) and Butterfly (A. tuberosa) weed are preferred nectar plants.