Protecting Pollinators is not Always Pretty

So I am still recovering from eye surgery and I have been blessed to have my sister staying with me for a couple of weeks to do things for me, like walking the dog and cooking dinner–things that were impossible when I was face down in recovery and even now I need to do gently so as to not undo the stitches in my eye.

Some interesting things came out in conversation about our property and even Pollinator Week.

First, at one point, she mentioned that it seemed that we had the “buggiest” property on the block. And I said that if you don’t use pesticides, then all insects come to the property. She was referring to these little flying black flies–gnat sized–that bite. We call them black flies. They are an unfortunate late spring phenomena. I am sure that they have some benefit. I don’t know what it is.

Then we talked a bit about pollinators. I was floored when she said she could only think of 3. But then she elaborated and her 3 included “insects,” which is a very broad category. Still, the other two were “the occasional hummingbird and I suppose moths.”

I am not sure if she lumped bees in with the insects–I believe that she did. I think she also put ants in there. I don’t know if she put butterflies in there. We didn’t include bats because we don’t live in a place where they are legitimate pollinators.

But I sure that she would be shocked if I said that I counted 29 kinds of butterflies and moths alone on this property. I have never counted the bees and wasps but I know that I could easily distinguish 10 or more different kinds–maybe more if I worked on it. I have seen 78 different kinds of birds (not pollinators, I know, for the most part). I can’t recall the numbers of different kinds of insects. She would probably be horrified anyway if I could.

Why is there this diversity? We are the only truly organic property in our neighborhood and the wildlife finds us.

You can tell by my Monday post that I am not going out of my way to plant native plants, although if I do plant perennials, trees or shrubs, I do try plant natives when I can. Containers are different, of course.

So what is my takeaway? For me, helping the pollinators has meant going–and staying–organic. Everything else is just extra.

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