Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies

Book CoverAttracting Native Pollinators, The Xerces Society Guide: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies (Storey Publishing, 2011)

One of every three mouthfuls of food and drink has required the work of a pollinator, a designation that includes social bees, solitary bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, and beetles, and these invertebrates are in trouble. You may have heard about colony collapse disorder killing many millions of bees, but the truth is that all of these hard-working creatures are in trouble. Not only do we humans need to stop poisoning them with toxic chemicals, but we also need to put in food and habitat plants to replace all those destroyed by urban expansion.

This is an excellent book to guide your plantings if you’d like to help these insects survive to continue their work that helps feed us all. The authors provide plant lists, garden designs, and instructions on how to provide bee housing, all gloriously illustrated in color.

If you’re interested in learning to tell one little flying bug from another, there is a section on profiles on the species you’re most likely to see. Do they carry pollen on their legs, have more or less fuzz, or have eyes toward the front or sides? These are some of the traits that separate one species from another, allowing you to determine which of these pollinators you are attracting and feeding.

In case you’re curious, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation was named for the Xerces blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces), the first butterfly in the U.S. driven to extinction by mankind. The Society’s work is aimed at preventing all invertebrates from similar fates. They sell regional pollinator seed mixes and have created a bee support effort called The Great Sunflower Project, both available online. Whether you are already an expert or a complete beginner, this book makes it easy to pick up just what you need to become a friend to native pollinators.

Book review by Susan W. Clark

More information:

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

The Great Sunflower Project – Learn more about growing plants in your garden to attract and feed pollinators.

About Susan W. Clark

Susan W. Clark is a freelance writer and photographer focusing on sustainability. She lives on an organic farm near Canby, Oregon. Her blog, publication list, and clips are available here.

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Chelsea Green