Pollinators

Bee image courtesy of April ReceuverPollinator Week Celebration

One of the requirements for Bee City USA Affiliates is to plan and implement a Pollinator Week Celebration at some point in the calendar year.  Watch for announcements about this year’s Pollinator Week Celebration plans, which will be posted on the Hampton Clean City Commission web page as well as on social media.

Ideal Pollinator Habitats

  • Provide diverse and abundant nectar and pollen from plants blooming in succession throughout the growing season.
    Resource: Here are some common local native plants and their flowering times from Blandy Experimental Farm.
  • Provide undisturbed spaces (leaf and brush piles, unmown fields or field margins, fallen trees and other dead wood) for nesting and overwintering for wild pollinators.
    Resource: Creating Pollinator Nesting Boxes to Help Native Bees was published by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. 
  • Provide water for drinking, nest-building, and butterfly puddling.
  • Are free to nearly free of pesticides, as many pesticides can harm pollinators and/or their habitat.
    Resource: Neonicotinoids are particularly harmful to bees and other pollinators, because they are systemic and become part of the food the pollinators need to survive.  This list provides the brand names and active ingredients of some of the more common neonicotinoid pesticides, from the Center for Food Safety. 
  • Comprise mostly native wildflowers, grasses, vines, shrubs, and trees, since many wild pollinators prefer or depend on the native plants with which they co-adapted.
  • Provide connectivity between habitat areas to support pollinator movement and resilience. 
  • Bees and other pollinators have different habitat and shelter needs than those often provided by traditional lawns. Keep in mind that you live in a human community, too, so blend pollinator needs into your landscape while meeting community standards.
    Resource: Use the Xerces Nesting Habitat Guide (PDF) to find out how to welcome pollinators to your yard.

Sample Pollinator Plantings with Locally Native Plant Lists

Sample of Sunny Herb and Wildflower Bed Opens in new window

Sunny Herb and Wildflower Bed, April Receuver

Resources

Bee City USA – Hampton Committee members developed plant lists specific to Hampton and the surrounding area. The list will be expanded as members continue their research. 

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a long-term approach to maintaining healthy landscapes and facilities that minimizes risks to people and the environment by: 

  • Identifying and removing the causes of pest problems rather than only attacking the symptoms (the pests).
  • Employing pests’ natural enemies along with cultural, mechanical, and physical controls when prevention is not enough.
  • Using pesticides only when no other method is feasible or effective.

2020 Pest Management Guide: Home Grounds and Animals, Virginia Cooperative Extension (PDF)

This guide includes an overview of best management practices associated with home grounds and animals. Information about general biological controls of insects and diseases includes practices using resistant plants or companion plants that reduce pest and disease attacks. We also include advice about incorporating beneficial insects, animals, and other organisms into a pest management plan to fight off harmful organisms. There are mechanical ways to control pests that include using weed blocking textiles and mulches to reduce weeds in vegetable or ornamental plantings. Information on labeled chemical controls for specific pests is also included if no alternative solutions provide enough weed and pest control.

Pollinator Habitat Certification

Criteria for pollinator habitat certification are:

  1. Providing a list of food plants I have planted for pollinators including a minimum of 3 to 5 different locally native pollinator plants.  (Some common native plants are: Aster, Black-eyed Susan, Butterfly Weed, Cardinal Flower, Dwarf Iris, Fennel, Goldenrod, Hyssop, Joe Pye Weed, Marigold, Milkweed, Mountain Mint, Parsley, Purple Cone Flower, and Yarrow.) For a more complete listing go to:  Native Plants of Southeast Virginia.
  2. Providing shelter for native pollinators.   Some native species nest in stems and in the ground over winter. Some ways to ensure nesting sites are insect houses, twig bundles, brush shelters and piles of leaves. Delay garden cleanup until spring and wait to mulch until warm weather.
  3. Providing a source of water such as birdbaths or shallow trays filled with marbles, rocks or sea glass and water.
  4. Safeguarding pollinator habitat by reducing chemical pesticide and herbicide use.  Companion planting is a no-hassle pest management system.  

Additionally, the Bee City USA-Hampton team has entomologists, master gardeners, and master naturalists who can help with insect identification and control.  

Residences and workplaces that provide the essentials for pollinator habitats described at Ideal Pollinator Habitats will be highlighted in this section as they receive certification from the Bee City USA – Hampton Steering Committee.

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