In New Mexico, there are many pollinators beyond the honey bee. There are wasps, beetles, hummingbirds, flies, bats, moths, butterflies and native bees and they all have different requirements for food, water and shelter. There are many ways you can make your yard pollinator friendly.
Pollen and Nectar Bees need sources of pollen and nectar. Nectar is an energy source for bees and is what they make honey out of. Pollen is used to feed the brood or baby bees and is a vital source of protein and fats. All blooming plants provide pollen, but not all pollen is desirable for bees.
Flowers Try to provide a variety of flowers and native plant species throughout the season so that pollinators always have a source of pollen and nectar. You can plant a variety of colors and types of flowers. Here are Pictures of Plants for Pollinators compiled by the research at NMSU.
Water Another way to bring bees and other pollinators to your yard is to provide a water source. This can be a slow dripping faucet, a bubbling fountain or a large bowl that is filled with water and rocks. The rocks provide a landing pad for bees.
Insecticides Stop using insecticides, reduce or stop the use of pesticides and always follow the directions on the back of the bottle. Try IPM or Integrative Pest Management. Here is a list of synthetic nicotine-based pesticides believed to be toxic to honeybees and native pollinators: Avoid Using These Neonicotinoid Pesticides
Local Pollinator Research New Mexico State University and NRCS Plants Materials Center for New Mexico are collaborating in testing more than 100 species of (mostly native) plants for their ability to attract and retain pollinators and other beneficial insects. The information from these trials is being used to draw up a comprehensive list of recommended plants that will help sustain pollinators in different areas of New Mexico.
- NM Pollinator Project
- Pollinator Plants for NM
- Plants for Pollinators Poster
- Guide to Native Bees of NM
The Melissa Garden, a honeybee sanctuary lists plants for pollinators: http://www.themelissagarden.com/plants.html
Judith Phillips, “New Mexico Gardener’s Guide” clearly identifies plants that support bees
US Fish & Wildlife Services- pollinators: http://www.fws.gov/pollinators/
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation: http://www.xerces.org/pollinators-southwest-region/
North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, provides current honeybee research: http://pollinator.org/nappc/index.html
US Forest Service, Gardening for pollinators: http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/gardening.shtml