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Overwintering sites for native pollinators

Bumblebee mothThe final habitat requirement of native pollinators is a spot to spend the winter.  Most native bees winter in their summer nest tunnels or burrows, but bumblebees need a sheltered spot with plenty of leaf litter in which to hibernate.  Some non-bee pollinators spend the winter in tall grass, bushes, trees, piles of leaves or sticks, or on man-made objects.

In general, the best way to protect pollinators in the winter is to leave them alone.  If you need to manage your pollinator meadows by mowing or burning, try to do so in the late summer or fall while the insects are still active and can get away.  Even if you don't have a designated pollinator area, it's worth leaving some overgrown, weedy spots along the edges of your garden to give these important insects a winter home.

Want to know more about native pollinators?  Here are some extra sources:

  • Attracting Wild Pollinators --- This beautifully illustrated book was the source for this week's lunchtime series.  It delves much further into all of the topics mentioned here.
  • Native pollinators --- This lunchtime series covers four of the most common types of pollinators in our garden --- sweat bees, small carpenter bees, miner bees, and the greater bee fly.
  • Bumblebees --- Learn about buzz pollination, bumblebee identification, and more in this lunchtime series.



This post is part of our Attracting Native Pollinators lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:





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