As you’re harvesting the last of your garden this fall and preparing for winter, take a few moments to create overwintering habitat for our pollinators. Many people are familiar with the need to provide flowering plants for pollinators during spring, summer, and fall months. But, we tend to forget about supporting our pollinators during the winter.
Overwintering strategies vary between different species of pollinators. For example, monarch butterflies migrate south, most small mammals hibernate, bumblebee queens burrow into leaf litter, and many other bee species overwinter in their natal nests.
To provide winter habitat for pollinators:
- create a small pile of logs or rocks somewhere sheltered from prevailing winds – space the logs or rocks to provide gaps of up to 4 inches in the pile,
- leave a few stalks of large flowers (such as sunflowers) standing so bees and some beetles can easily burrow into the hollowed stems,
- maintain a small area of undisturbed leaf litter for other burrowing bees,
- if you have any bee condos out, make sure to leave them in place as many bees will return in the fall and use them for overwintering sites.
For additional information about pollinators, click here to check out our new pollinator webpage!
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