Pollinators

Matilija Poppy with bees, photo by Bob Sussman, Matilija Nursery.jpg

Matilija Poppy with Bees, photo by Bob Sussman, Matilija Nursery

Pollinators include insects, butterflies, birds, bats, and, of course, bees. These winged creatures are a critical part of a functional ecosystem, helping with pollination, assisting in decomposition processes, building soil, providing food for numerous species while providing visual beauty to our world. Because insect populations are incredibly vulnerable to pesticides and herbicides, consider using integrated pest management (eco-friendly pest control).


Mallow with native bee, photo by Bob Sussman, Matilija Nursery.jpg

Mallow with Native Bee, photo by Bob Sussman, Matilija Nursery

Bees

Domestic bees are in big trouble. Current science indicates that a number of related pesticides are the culprit. Bee-friendly plantings are a gift to the world as a whole. There are a number of native bees in the Santa Monica Mountains that thrive among native plants. A recommended plant list includes hummingbird sage, rosa californica, and valerian. If we lose the battle to save domestic honeybees, California native bees could save agriculture in the State of California – so plant lots of bee-friendly native plants.

Committed to preserving native bees and other insects, xerces.org  has a wealth of good resources on how to do so. Want some honey in your life? Raise bees in your backyard.


Monarch Butterflies

In Southern California, monarch butterflies are often the first butterfly species children learn about in school.  Their spectacular annual migration ranges from Canada to the heart of Mexico. People talk about seeing hillsides covered in orange and black beating wings, and the beauty of having them alight in one’s hair.

Due to habitat loss that may be linked to excessive use of herbicide glyphosate, known as Roundup® weed killer, monarch butterfly populations are plummeting. These iconic butterflies have an epic migration from Canada to Mexico. They lay their eggs on only one specific plant: milkweed.  See our list of native plant nurseries to buy milkweed and plant a micro-grove of milkweed in your garden, at your child’s school, and at the office. Remember that monarch butterflies will only use native milkweed called California narrowleaf milkweed, or Asclepias fascicularis in Latin. There are 15 varieties of milkweed in California and a whole array of non-American milkweeds, so make sure you plant the right kind.


Bats

Bats eat mosquitoes, moths, and beetles. A single brown bat can catch more
than 600 mosquitoes in an hour! To attract bats to your yard, install a bat
house on a pole or building 15 feet or higher in an area that receives 6 or
more hours of sunlight daily. Research indicates that our local bat communities in each watershed communicate with different languages from one another.


Hedgerows and Pollinating Plants

Hedgerows are grown at the perimeters of properties or between crops or to define different areas of a garden and to create habitat for birds, bees and the imaginations of young children.