The Golden Horseshoe area is home to numerous orchards, farms, and vineyards, and all of these depend on pollinators. The Government of Ontario estimates that 13% of its annual crop revenues, or $978 million dollars, can be directly attributed to pollinators. The majority of pollination is done by commercially raised bees; these insects are not native to the area, and their populations have been in decline for years. Our native pollinator populations are also in decline – because of habitat loss, invasive species, and pollution. The importance of native pollinators is undeniable, and by planting a pollinator friendly garden, you can do your part to aid in pollination population growth and stabilization.
Pollinators in southwestern Ontario are not limited to just bees; butterflies, hummingbirds, beetles, and flies all contribute to pollination. These native pollinations will often not pollinate non-native plants, so it is imperative to fill your garden with plants native to the Hamilton area. Planting flowers in clusters will also help pollinations easily locate and move between blooms. You should aim to have flowers blooming throughout the entire season, from May to October. A list of pollinator friendly species native to southwestern Ontario, along with ideas and info about pollinator friendly gardens is available here. Native gardens require less maintenance, less watering, and protect biodiversity.
In addition to the planting of native species, you can made your garden a friendly habitat for native pollinators. Simple things, like a bee bath or a bee hotel, provide pollinators with all the things they need to flourish. To make a bee bath, fill a dish with stones and shallow water. This allows bees to drink when the weather is too hot, facilitating the continuation of their pollination journey. A bee hotel provides a place for solitary bees to nest. Make one by filling a milk carton with bamboo rods. Instructions can be found here. It is important to note that when you are making a bee hotel, you should use untreated wood and bamboo.
link about pollinator friendly gardens: http://www.gardenonta
link on how to build a bee hotel: https://www.youtube.com