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Protecting Pollinators

Most people who are active in caring for their lawns and landscaped plants are aware of and are concerned about the decline of insect pollinators, such as certain types of bees and butterflies, that has occurred over the past couple of decades.  Reasons for the diminishing numbers of honey bees include combinations of habitat loss, parasites (such as mites), diseases (including bacteria and viruses), and pesticide exposure. Even sublethal exposures to pesticides can negatively impact insect pollinators in many ways, such as negatively affecting their orientation and feeding behaviors, ability to reproduce, and increase their susceptibility to diseases.

For pollinator conservation, the most important thing a homeowner can do is to not apply pesticides to plants with open flowers. Additionally, to encourage pollinator presence a homeowner should plant a variety of plants with different bloom colors and shapes that flower at different times throughout the growing season. This will provide continuous food (nectar and pollen) sources and nesting habitats for many types of insect pollinators.

For more information on protecting and encouraging bees, check out UGA Extension publication “Bee Conservation¬†in Southeast” and “Protecting Georgia Pollinators“.