Attracting Native Pollinators
Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies
By Xerces Society
Review by Kerry Lake, MG '13
The most recommended book for a review on pollinators was The Xerces Society Guide Attracting Native Pollinators. With over 350 pages, this seemed more of a tome for a college class than a book for the home gardener. While intimidating in size, the writing style is easy and understandable, yet precise, informative and comprehensive.
Attracting Native Pollinators has four main parts: Pollinators and Pollination; Taking Action; Bees of North America; and Creating a Pollinator-Friendly Landscape.
The Preface, titled A New World, visually brings to life the world of pollinators that we take for granted. Who isn’t thrilled watching a hummingbird moth flitting through a butterfly bush or on the bee balm? In my own experience it is the sight of the fritillaries rising from a bed of asters like an orange cloud, or the joy of the humming bird darting in for the red flowers on my deck all summer long. The soft buzzing of the native bees clustering on the asters in the autumn awakens another of our senses.
We are losing these delights, and more importantly, we could be losing these wonderful insects who pollinate our food crops. Native bees, wasps, butterflies, flies, and moths play a key role in pollinating our produce in our home gardens, especially if we don’t have honey bee hives in the area. We are in need a ‘tome’ or guidebook to show us the way to providing the environment necessary for protecting our native pollinators.
Part 2: Taking Action of Attracting Native Pollinators provides the most information for strategies for helping pollinators and how to provide the best foraging/ nesting and egg-laying sites/ pupation and overwintering sites. There are chapters on school and community gardens habitats, incorporating pollinators into wildlife management plans for urban green spaces, parks, golf courses, and any natural area no matter how small. Seven pages in this section are devoted to Grassroots Action.
There are numerous Case Studies throughout the book, all equally inspiring.Part 4 Creating a Pollinator-Friendly Landscape ties into the Case Studies with illustrations and landscape plans of sample gardens.
Included in Attracting Native Pollinators, is a photo glossary of native bees, and one of butterflies for easy identification, with information regarding what plants attract these wonderful insects. Also in this last section are regional plant lists for native pollinator gardens, and a photo glossary of pollen and nectar plants showing native wildflowers, pasture plants, and garden plants.
The book finishes with Ideas for Educators and Parents. At WMMMGA we could use these ideas in creating more games for adults and children for our ‘Road Shows’ at Fairs and Farmers Markets, educating the public, while having fun.
I do recommend Attracting Native Pollinators, with its price of $30. This is a book that you will use and enjoy for many years. Learning about pollinators is just another way to study plants and our connection, or can I say, dependence on them.