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  • How Can I Help Butterflies and Bees?

    Created: 1/17/2019      Updated: 2/14/2019

    In this series, we'll be addressing some common questions from visitors and readers. Do you have a science question that has you stumped? Ask our museum scientists via our form here and we'll answer it on our blog!

    Today’s Question: What are some simple things I can do at home with my kids to help preserve the butterflies and bees?

    There are a few simple things that anyone can do if they have garden or even a porch at home.

    Provide nectar resources

    Grow flowering plants if you have the space. Even potted plants or a container garden can provide a valuable food source for pollinators passing through. If possible, try to select plants carefully so there is something in bloom for the entire season, spring to fall. For butterflies, you can also look into host plants of butterflies common to your area.

    Provide habitat

    Pollinators don't just need food, they also need shelter. For an insect this can be small. For example, leaving a brush pile in part of your garden can provide nesting habitat for bumble bees. Raising the bed of your lawn mower and mowing less frequently if possible can also provide additional habitat. For native bees, you can purchase a "bee hotel" or bundle together an assortment of hollow bamboo sticks. Just be sure to either replace or disinfect your native bee homes each year to prevent spreading diseases.

    Limit use of pesticides

    Only use pesticides when absolutely required. Look into integrated pest management strategies for any specific issues in your garden that will help reduce reliance on pesticides.

    If you want to go the extra mile, you can look into further resources and get your garden certified as a monarch waystation (like the Nature Museum!). You can also help monitor pollinators by contributing to citizen science programs like BeeSpotter or iNaturalist.

    Special thanks to Emily for today's question!

    Allen Lawrance
    Associate Curator of Entomology

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