I found something new online. Having addressed pollinator decline in several posts, I think I have made it clear that this is one of my passions. Last night while doing research on pesticides and herbicides, I found a project that is encouraging private residents to take a pledge to make their yards bee friendly http://www.honeybeehaven.org/...
And is giving those participating residents an opportunity to mark their bee and pollinator havens on an interactive map of the U.S. http://www.honeybeehaven.org/
The coolest thing is, if you make your yard honey bee friendly, it will be pollinator friendly. Bees, butterflies, beetles and hummingbirds, even bats will be able to find sustenance in your yard. And given that all our pollinators are in decline, and one of the larger issues affecting them is loss of habitat and forage, this is your chance to team up with other citizens in order to mitigate those negative factors.
"But GreenMother, I have a black thumb, cactus die when I walk past them!"
Well I know some super easy plants you can grow in your yard in patches. All you need is a bed to seed, or some moderately large pots to grow stuff in, some water and maybe some compost and organic mulch.
You don't even have to have a proper yard.
If you live in an apartment or townhouse and all you have is a little outdoor patio, you can get a large pot, and you can plant lemon balm or peppermint in that pot. Even people who kill cacti with their laserbeam eyes have difficulties killing peppermint, even when they want to!
If you live in a neighborhood that doesn't have special requirements for the upkeep of your yard, you can replace some or all of your grass with White Dutch Clover. You water and mow it just like a lawn. But because it flowers, the bees, butterflies and ladybugs will be all over it.
You can even use it as a green mulch in your garden, since it does not grow very tall. And when you til it in, it enriches the soil.
If you are actually good at growing things, there are a variety of seed packets that you can buy that contain wildflower mixes you can broadcast in a bed and water.
Most likely the mix will contain some cosmos, zinnias, California poppies, bachelor buttons, phacelia, lemon balm, allysum, salvias, --and who knows what else. And easiest of all--Sunflowers! Bees love Sunflowers most of all! And they do have some diminutive varieties that can be grown in pots like Sunspot! Just make sure you don't buy a pollenless variety. Bees and other pollinators need pollen as a source of protein!
If you want to attract bees to your garden, get some of that phacelia seed and plant a bed with that. It is marketed as Bees-Friend by the Seed Saver's exchange for just that purpose. Bees love it.
I hope you check these sites out. The Pesticide Action Network and Beyond Pesticides look pretty interesting too. I have used their sites to research various pesticides and herbicides. Through those sites you can compare American Regulations with California, and to the EU regulations and findings regarding pesticides. Good stuff! You can go to the bottom of the Bee Haven page and click on the hyperlinks to either organization.
You will learn things about our laws or lack thereof, that might encourage you to speak up about some issues in this country.
These sites will even give you organic or pesticide free alternatives for the care of the lawn, garden and home.
In a previous thread regarding ecological issues, someone brought up the fact that we can't really make the big agri-chemical companies behave. That's true [for now]. But what we can do right now, is to take action in our own individual homes.
Every little bit helps! And as we build new habits to care for our personal ecosystems, we can build on those habits from there and branch out.
And there are enough of us, that this sort of action as a collective, could be significant!
6:24 AM PT: Two Things: Yes California is obviously a state in the U.S. But California has different standards regarding pesticide usage and record keeping.
The next issue is--Check this book out or buy it:
Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Guide to Conserving North American Bees and Butterflies and Their Habitat!
I have this book. It is the coolest book ever. It has a small bug guide in the back, it is full of resources, advice on plantings, and much more! Full price is about 21$ but you can find it cheaper used online.