We often get requests from people wanting to help honey bees and other pollinators.
It’s helpful to create or maintain a habitat with plant species that bloom from Spring through Fall to provide pollinator forage as consistently as possible throughout the growing season. Having abundant forage and propolis sources is critical to honey bees and other pollinators' health.
A new resource based upon university research in New England and tailored to Vermont by Fred Putnam, Jr. and Jeff Cunningham from the Vermont Beekeepers Association can be helpful to homeowners, landowners, land managers, and consultants who wish to plant or retain species helpful to honey bees and other pollinators.
Nectar containing natural sugars is used as their energy source. Pollen is the protein source needed to raise new pollinator babies (brood.) Honey bees use propolis as a hive "sealant." Planting, retaining, and maintaining species that provide these things can help pollinators.
Management guidelines include:
- When logging or other vegetation management is planned, retain a variety of tree and shrubby tree species used by pollinators. It is important to note that both honey bees and native bees occur at surprisingly high elevations - well above 2,500 feet - in Vermont’s mountains.
- Avoid mowing lawns and fields while species like dandelions, white clover, and goldenrod are blooming. Defer mowing milkweed until after the first frost in the fall.
- Plant or retain a variety of native pollinator-friendly species that bloom throughout the growing season.
- And, of course, refrain from using products containing pesticides since even sublethal low-level exposure to many pesticides can make the difference between a pollinator surviving through the winter or expiring.