Step 3: Provide Shelter
A good way to encourage pollinating visitors to your garden is to provide nesting sites for them. Bumblebees and many solitary bees nest in the ground and need open patches of bare soil. Dead wood provides nesting areas for a variety of pollinators such as some bees, wasps, beetles and ants. Many solitary bees will nest in the pith of stems and twigs.
You can also create man-made nesting sites. For example, bee-nesting blocks can be made out of an untreated wood block by drilling a number of holes approximately ¼ inches in diameter, and 3-5 inches deep. Mount the block on a post or the side of a building. An ideal place would be under the eaves of a garage or shed, which gives some protection from the rain.
Pollinators also need protection for overwintering, so instead of cleaning up your gardens in the fall, wait until late spring. Perennials and grasses left standing will provide shelter and will give winter interest to your garden.
For more information on providing nesting and overwintering sites, click on the publications below:
- Man Made Bee Nests (PDF), Penn State University Pennsylvania Pollinator Series
- Pollinator Nesting Habitats (PDF), Penn State University Pennsylvania Pollinator Series
- Native Pollinators (PDF), Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Pollinators & their threat
In order to certify, your garden needs at least two of the following:
- Dead wood
- Rock Pile or Wall
- Spaces of bare ground
- Man-made bee houses
- Leave garden cleanup till late spring