Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife


Try Mothing – Attracting and observing moths

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   While moths are often thought of as being drab and boring, they actually come in a wide range of colors and sizes. Some moths have pink and yellow stripes, others are snow white with black spots, others are pale green, […]


Think About Layers

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Often times our humanmade landscapes consist of only one or two vertical layers, for instance an expanse of short, green grass with maybe a couple of tall shade trees. However, this is rarely the case in a healthy, natural ecosystem. In […]


Where are all the bees?

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   “I haven’t seen many bees this spring. Do you know what happened to them?” Is a question that I get 2-3 times each spring. This year is no different, and in fact, because everyone has been home more, I’ve gotten the […]


Leave Standing Dead Trees (When Safe)

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Standing dead trees, also known as snags, are extremely valuable to wildlife and even some pollinators. Just a few examples of how snags are used by wildlife and pollinators include: Beetle larvae and other wood boring insects create tunnels in the […]


Create a Brush Pile

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Brush piles can provide important habitat for songbirds, lizards, snakes, rabbits, and other small mammals. While brush piles are sometimes thought of as “ugly,” they don’t have to be. There are some beautiful, native flowering vines which can be encouraged to […]


Provide Suet for Winter Birds

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   When we think about feeding the birds, we often envision bird feeders full of sunflower seeds or other types of bird seed. However during the winter, suet can also be a valuable addition to our bird feeding stations. Technically, suet is […]


3 Easy Ways to Provide Bumble Bee Nesting Sites

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Bumble bees are important pollinators, but they don’t get the attention of their honey bee cousins. In the eastern U.S., there are 21 species of bumble bees, including the federally endangered rusty-patched bumble bee. Bumble bee queens emerge in the early […]


Plant Native Trees and Shrubs in the Late Fall

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Although we often think of planting wildflowers and other herbaceous plants for pollinators, trees and shrubs can be extremely beneficial for pollinators. If those trees and shrubs are native, then they tend to support a wider variety of pollinators than their […]


Only Mow Part of a Field Each Year

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   When mowing or bush hogging a field, only do approximately 1/2 to 1/3 of the field each year. This creates a more complex and multiple-aged habitat which benefits both wildlife and pollinators. For example, many of our butterflies will overwinter as […]


Plant Native Perennial Wildflowers in the Fall

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   We always think of spring as the planting season, but fall is the perfect time to plant native, perennial wildflowers. When we plant in the spring, the flower has to divide its energy between establishing a strong root system and growing […]


Plant Native Grasses

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Wait a minute. Plant grasses? I thought there was a push among those gardening for pollinators and wildlife to reduce yards and grassy areas…. Well, yes, to all of that. The key point here is to plant native grasses like […]


Trail cameras for Pollinators

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   In previous articles, I’ve talked about various ways to attract pollinators and wildlife. However, part of the fun of attracting them is getting to watch them, and not all of our pollinators and wildlife will tolerate having a human observer nearby. […]


Plant Flowers that Open at Different Times of the Day

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   When a flower opens, or at least when it produces nectar, is often timed with when its natural pollinators are active. For example, squash flowers open very early in the day and close by the middle of the day. That is […]


Container Gardens for Pollinators

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Many people live in apartments or other locations where they aren’t able to plant large flower beds or gardens. Their gardening efforts may be restricted to a few containers on a small patio. I talk to people all the time […]


Pine for Carpenter Bees

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Ok, this tip isn’t so much about attracting pollinators and backyard wildlife as it is about avoiding or mitigating issues. Carpenter bees are valuable native pollinators that play an important role in our ecosystem. However, it can be hard to […]


Let Cool Weather Crops and Deer Food Plots Bloom

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   In the late winter and early spring, many people plant cool weather crops in their gardens. These often include things like broccoli, kale, and cabbage. All of these are in the mustard family. In rural areas, many people also plant […]


Hover flies on dandelion.

5 Things to Consider Before You Spray

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Each year as the weather warms up and we get closer to spring, the number of TV commercials for herbicides increases as well as the number of posts I see on social media about homemade herbicides. The homemade herbicides are […]


3 Ways to Turn Christmas Trees into Wildlife Habitat

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   This is the time of year when Christmas trees seem to be everywhere. After the Christmas season, many of those trees are hauled out to the curb to be hauled to the landfill. However, did you know that if you […]


Provide Winter Habitat for Butterflies and Moths

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   If you are like me, winter is not typically when you think about providing habitat for butterflies and moths. In fact, until I started researching and learning about pollinators, I never even thought about how butterflies and moths survive the winter. […]


Leave Flower Stems for Bees and Small, Solitary Wasps

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Fall is a time when many people “put their gardens to bed” by cutting back their dead flowers and cleaning up their gardens before winter. However, if attracting pollinators to your garden is one of your goals, then you might want […]


Leave Hummingbird Feeders Up for Fall Migration

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Over the next several weeks, our hummingbird numbers will begin to drastically decline as they leave for their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America. Growing up, I always heard that you should take your hummingbird feeders down in the fall […]


Leave Seed Heads for Songbirds

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   As we begin the transition from summer to fall, many of our summer flowers are starting to go to seed. It is often tempting to cut off the seed heads in an attempt to make our gardens looks neater, especially if you […]


Leave Fields of Fall Wildflowers for Pollinators

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Late summer and fall wildflowers such as ironweed, joe-pye-weed, goldenrod, native sunflowers, and asters are important late sources of pollen and nectar for many species of butterflies and bees. If possible, allow these plants to flower in fields and open areas. […]


Create Mudding Spots for Butterflies

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Butterflies will often congregate around mud puddles, or even just damp soil. These congregation areas are called mudding or puddling spots. Butterflies are drawn to them for the salts and minerals that are dissolved in the water. You can create an […]


Let Herbs Go to Flower

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Herbs taste better before they go to flower, which is why people are often encouraged to pinch off any flower buds that begin to form. However, at some point in mid to late summer, most people have gathered all the herbs […]


Plant Taller Milkweeds Species for Monarchs

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   A recently published study by researchers at the University of Kentucky compared monarch butterfly usage of seven species of milkweed in small, urban garden settings. The two-year study, found more monarch caterpillars and eggs on the taller species (swamp milkweed, common milkweed, […]


Install a Bat House

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Bats play an important role in our ecosystem. Between 15 and 20 species of bats are regularly found in the eastern U.S., with a few other species showing up occasionally. All of the bats that live in the eastern U.S. are […]


Incorporate Native Plants into Your Landscape

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Incorporating native plants into your landscape can be a simple and effective way to attract pollinators and wildlife to your yard. While you can choose to plant only natives, you can also choose to have a mix of native and non-native […]


Provide Water for Birds

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   In nature, birds use puddles, rocky creeks, and other shallow water sources to bathe and drink. However, during the hot, dry, summer months, many of these water sources may dry up. Providing birds and other wildlife with a reliable source of […]


7 Tips for Planting for Butterflies

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Butterfly gardens are growing in popularity. When done properly, they can be a great way to attract these beautiful pollinators to your yard. Here are seven tips for creating a butterfly garden. 1) Think about what species of butterflies you want […]


Plant Vegetables and Herbs in Small Places

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   I’ve been asked multiple times what someone can plant for pollinators if they only have a small space. Obviously the definition of “small space” varies from one person to the next, but typically the person asking has anything from a patio […]


Plant Wild-Type or Old-Fashioned Varieties

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   When planting for pollinators, choose wild-type of old-fashioned varieties. Often as plants are bred to be showier and more ornamental, they lose their ability to produce as much nectar and pollen. This makes them less attractive to pollinators. Ornamental roses are […]


Make a Bee Waterer

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Many pollinators will get much of the water they need from the nectar they drink. However, sometimes they need access to additional water sources. Honey bees, especially, need access to lots of water during the summer because they use water to […]


Mow Yards Less Frequently

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   In March 2018, researchers published a new study about the effects of lawn mowing frequency on bee populations in urban yards. Yards in the study were mowed at 1-, 2-, or 3-week intervals throughout the growing season. Before the yards were mowed, […]


10 Tips for Feeding Hummingbirds

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Many people enjoy feeding hummingbirds during the summer. In Kentucky and the rest of the eastern U.S., the hummingbird that we are feeding is the ruby-throated hummingbird. It is the only hummingbird that nests in the eastern U.S. Below are 10 […]


Turn Unneeded Lights Off at Night

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Most of us probably don’t realize just how busy the nightlife can be from an animal’s perspective. Just because the sun goes down and people tend to migrate inside our well-lit homes, doesn’t mean that wildlife and pollinators do the same […]


Help Scientists Learn about Pollinators and Wildlife in Your Area

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Attracting pollinators and wildlife to our backyards and property can be fun and interesting for us while providing beneficial habitat to the critters we attract. However, did you know that at the same time you can be helping scientists learn more […]


Choose the Right Type of Birdhouse

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Birdhouses are often promoted as one way to attract nesting birds, primarily songbirds, to your property. But did you know that different types of birdhouses will attract different types of birds? Or that not all birds will use birdhouses? Or that […]


Plant Different Shapes, Sizes, and Colors of Flowers

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Different species of pollinators are attracted to different shapes, sizes, and colors of flowers. For example, hummingbirds love red flowers with long narrow flower tubes. However, many bees don’t see the color red and don’t have long enough proboscises (tongues) to […]


To Bee Keep or Not to Bee Keep – Repost

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~ It is the time of year when many people begin thinking about becoming beekeepers. I love being a beekeeper and enjoy helping new beekeepers. However, beekeeping isn’t easy. There is a lot of work involved and it isn’t for everyone. One of the […]


Break Big Projects into Smaller Projects

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   When planning a large, new pollinator garden or wildlife habitat project, it is easy to get carried away and try to take on too much at once. If you are thinking about starting a big, new project this year, I encourage […]


Don’t Bring Hummingbirds Inside to Warm Up

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   You don’t have to live in Kentucky long to figure out that Kentucky weather can be a bit crazy. Seventy degree weather one day and snow the next? Yep, we can do that. Noooo problem. I know many of our neighbors […]


Provide Habitat for Ground Nesting Bees

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   It is estimated that approximately 70% of bees native to the U.S. nest in the ground. Depending on the species, ground nesting bees may spend as much as 11 months underground developing from an egg into an adult bee. The adult […]


Clean and Repair Birdhouses

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Spring is rapidly approaching and some of the early nesting songbirds are starting to re-establish their territories. Now is the time to clean and inspect your birdhouses if you haven’t already done so. Even if you cleaned and inspected your birdhouse […]


Planting Native Seeds

~Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   When it comes to planting native wildflowers for pollinators, just scattering some seeds in a flower bed may not be enough. Some wildflowers will sprout like that, but the seeds of many species need to be treated before they will germinate. Those […]


Include a Mason Bee House on Your Property

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   You don’t have to be a beekeeper to provide a home for bees on your property. Mason bees are a group of bees native to the U.S. They are important pollinators that nest in hollow grasses and other tubes. Mason bees […]


Plant in Mass to Attract Pollinators

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~ Pollinators are more attracted to clumps of the same type of flower, than to individual flowers. One, it’s easier to see the clumps from a distance as the pollinator is flying around. Two, it is more efficient for the pollinator to work […]


Avoid Planting Invasive Species

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~ Invasive species are species that are not native to an area, but once introduced to an area can spread rapidly and crowd out other species. Not all non-native species are invasive, but some are and those species can cause significant ecological damage. […]


Provide Pollinators with 3 Seasons of Blooms

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~ When planting for pollinators, try to incorporate at least three different types of plants that bloom in each of the three growing seasons (spring, summer, and fall). In Kentucky and much of the surrounding region, the growing season typically begins sometime in […]


Do a Soil Test

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   A soil test is an inexpensive and valuable investment when planting for pollinators and wildlife. Basic soil tests will tell you the pH of your soil and the availability of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. This is important information to […]


Different Types of Food for Different Types of Birds

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~ Many people enjoy feeding the birds, especially during the winter. It is a great way to attract birds to your home and to an area where you can easily watch them. The types of birds that come to your feeders will depend […]


Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife

This past week has been super busy. I’ve been trying to catch up on beekeeping, nursery, and farm chores after traveling for several weeks. Anthony did a great job of keeping everything going while I was gone, but there was still plenty for me to jump in and do. Plus, […]


To Bee Keep or Not to Bee Keep? – A Repost

April is the month when many new beekeepers begin their journey. As the days warm and people start planting their gardens, other non-beekeepers sometimes begin contemplating “getting a few bees for the garden.” While I love beekeeping and I encourage anyone interested to become a beekeeper, I also know that […]


It’s Swarm Season Again

Springtime is a busy time for honey bees and beekeepers alike. As more and more flowers and trees begin to bloom, the amount of nectar and pollen available for the bees increases. The queen is also busy laying eggs and the population of bees in the hive is rapidly expanding […]


Hummingbirds that Look Almost Dead but Aren’t

You don’t have to live in Kentucky long to figure out that Kentucky weather can be a bit crazy. Seventy degree weather one day and snow the next? Yep, we can do that. Noooo problem. I know many of our neighbors in Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio claim the same […]


When “Helping the Bees” Hurts

Many of you are probably wondering what I mean by “when helping the bees hurts.” Am I talking about getting stung? While I agree getting stung wouldn’t feel good, that’s not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is much more complex and the “hurt” can have […]


Fall is a Great Time to Plant Trees, Shrubs, and Perennials

At our farm in southcentral Kentucky, the air has turned crisper, the leaves are beginning to fall, and the native wildflowers that we didn’t sell in our nursery are beginning to go dormant. Not too long ago, I would have taken these as signs that it was time to hang […]


7 Tips for Planting for Butterflies

Butterfly gardens are growing in popularity. When done properly, they can be a great way to attract these beautiful pollinators to your yard. Here are seven tips for creating a butterfly garden.   1) Think about what species of butterflies you want to attract. Different species of butterflies require different […]


Planting Native Wildflowers for Pollinators and Other Wildlife

This is National Wildflower Week! National Wildflower Week is always the first week of May. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, National Wildflower Week is designed to raise awareness about wildflowers and their importance. This is also an exciting time of year for Kentucky gardeners because many plants […]


Providing water for honey bees and other pollinators

After an unusually rainy summer, the last month and a half has been very dry. We keep track of the daily precipitation at our farm. On August 6-7, we received a total of 1.95 inches of rain. In the five and a half weeks since then, only 1.14 inches of […]


Saving honey bees – one soda at a time

Several times this summer, someone has asked me about bees around a garbage can. Each time the bees were honey bees and the garbage can was a public trash can located outside. The bees are being attracted to the half-drunk sodas that people toss into the trash without thinking about […]


To Bee Keep or Not to Bee Keep? That is the question.

Ok, I couldn’t resist the corny Hamlet reference, but it seemed appropriate. More people have asked me about bees and beekeeping this year than ever before. I don’t mind. I like talking about bees and beekeeping. How hard is it to keep bees? Can I just put a hive out […]