MDW is proud to feature Monica Yadeun, PhD, founder, director, and science facilitator
of The Pollinator Movement to guide us through the ways to support and help pollinators survive during cold winter months. While the adult monarch butterfly travels south and migrates over 3,000 miles to Mexico and California, there are many non-migrating bees and other pollinators that need natural shelters from the harsh winter.
Here are 5 ways to provide a winter shelter for bees, beetles, butterflies, and other pollinators:
1. Resist “cleaning up” your garden.
Some larvae of native bees pass the winter inside flower stalks. Some of these bees are endangered so providing them a home for the winter is essential.
2. Leave the leaves.
When you leave the leaves you give an opportunity for pollinators to overwinter. Without knowing it, you could also have firefly larvae in your yard that needs protection against the harsh winter.
3. Don’t over-mulch.
Your plant roots need protection, but so do the native bees that nest underground. Try to leave some areas without mulch so they can exit the soil next spring, after overwintering in your yard.
4. Turn off non-essential lights.
Every fall, millions of birds and moths migrate through North America. Light pollution derails them from their original route and can cause bird collisions. Turn the lights off from 11 pm to 6 am until November 30th.
5. Avoid cutting back seedheads.
The seed of many of your favorite flowers offers critical food for both migrating birds and those preparing for the harsh winter. It's common for pollinators to lay eggs in underground nests or in insulated cavities aboveground in old plant stalks. Resist the urge to cut down these valuable food resources and leave them for birds to munch on throughout cool and cold weather months.
While we all want tidy yards, it's important to think like Mother Nature and provide a safe space for pollinators and provide sustenance for wildlife who need food and shelter until spring.
Interested in learning how to transform your space into a habitat for pollinators? Join the Pollinator Movement and make a meaningful difference in the conservation of nature and learn from both Indigenous experts and conservation scientists.
More about the author:
Monica Yadeun is the founder, director, and science facilitator of The Pollinator Movement. After collaborating in wildlife conservation programs across the world, she noticed a need to do conservation in a different way. For her PhD, Yadeun designed a pedagogy that brings together scientists, Indigenous experts, and everyday people. This pedagogy gave its origin to The Pollinator Movement.
Monica and her all-female team are on a mission to help transform our cities into spaces of co-existence between humans and other species.
Selected by UpLink - The World Economic Forum as one of the 15 initiatives worldwide that are helping regenerate biodiversity in the cities, the Pollinator Movement now has a global pilot program that you can be a part of as a citizen scientist.