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How to make a tiny suburban lot pollinator friendly?

 
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Location: California 10a/9b and Virginia 7a/6b
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Help me learn about pollinators?  I'm interested in making our very small California yard more friendly for pollinators.  Where do we start?  Flowers?  Beehive?  Can you point me to a not-overwhelming link for small scale beginners?

Everyone around here has gardeners and we're more likely to see dead bees in our yard than live ones :(  My kids will run out with spoonfuls of honey for sluggish bees.  I'm worried about pesticide use in the neighborhood, but also feel like I just don't know much on the topic.
 
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I would think a diversity of flowers so you have continual blooms the entire year, or as close to it as possible.

Water access. Like a water trough with rocks they can land on or very shallow edges.

I am not sure if this is an over reaction panic type thing, but i had read that feeding honey they didn't make could bring disease from one hive to another. I have no idea if there is truth to it...
 
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A diversity of all kinds of plants will create a habitat for all kinds of bugs.  So don't just think flowers, but other plants as well, both annual and perennial.  The goal should be larger than just pollinators --- shoot for a biointensive natural environment with all kinds of insects and soil biota.  A garden with 100 different plants growing in profusion will be a magnet for insects.

Insects need places to lay their eggs, shelter during difficult weather, over-winter, and protection from birds and other predators.  Don't clean up every dead plant at the end of the summer growing season, but leave some of the spent plants for them to overwinter.  Mulch (wood chip mulch is garden gold) creates a habitat for ground loving beetles and anthropods.  Letting common garden veggies like carrots and beets, or herbs like dill or basil go to seed provides food for a wide variety of creatures (and seed for yourself for next year's garden).  

When in doubt, plant more diversity.  And comfrey.  They'll show up and stick around if you create a habitat that they are excited to colonize.
 
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I am not sure if this is an over reaction panic type thing, but i had read that feeding honey they didn't make could bring disease from one hive to another. I have no idea if there is truth to it...



It's true. It can spread disease, & depending on quality of the source, poisons. Realistically if there are that many "sluggish" bees to be found it is probably too late for them & there is probably a bigger problem somewhere nearby. Save your honey for toast or pancakes. Or in Wayne's case ... sopapillas!
 
Mike Barkley
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Posts: 2020
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https://xerces.org/pollinator-resource-center/
 
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You could try making a 'Bee Motel' using an empty 20 litre cooking oil drum, old letterbox, etc.

Besides the common European Honey Bee, there are lots of other pollinators like native bees, wasps, flies, etc.

Butterflies and moths usually require host plants.

Creating habitat will encourage critters to stay and breed. A mix of native/introduced ornamental/edible flowering plants will keep them coming.

 
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Thanks for trying to help by planting more flowers.  It so sweet that your kids want to help.

 My kids will run out with spoonfuls of honey for sluggish bees.



Try explaining to your kids that the bees would rather have a bowl of water or some slices of fruit.

This thread might offer some suggestions to answer your question:

https://permies.com/t/93704/critters/Sharing-Pollinators

Any flowering plant will be loved by your pollinators!  Here are some suggestions from that thread:





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