Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Providing Water for Pollinators by Donna Duffy

Swallowtail drinking from a mud puddle, photo courtesy offset.com
Creating a pollinator-friendly garden goes beyond providing pollinator-friendly plants. Pollinators need sources of water for many purposes, including drinking and reproduction.  Butterflies, for example, will gather and sip at shallow pools, mud puddles or even birdbaths.  

Bee on birdbath, photo by Donna Duffy
You may already have a natural water source, such as a pond or stream.  If not, you can create one or more water sources.  This can be as easy as adding a birdbath or a puddling area for butterflies and bees. Be sure to provide some pebbles or rocks as “islands” in the dish so pollinators—especially small bees—won’t drown.

You can also provide water by hanging a dripping bottle, or placing a small container of water out in the open. Any source of standing water is a breeding ground for pesky mosquitos, so be sure to change the water 2-3 times per week during warm weather when mosquitoes are breeding.

For more information, check out the Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State University.