~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~
During the late summer and early fall, wildflowers such as goldenrods, thoroughworts, ironweeds, asters, and many others turn roadsides and fields into a pollinator oasis. Several of our butterfly species in the eastern U.S. migrate for the winter and rely on those flowers to provide them with the energy needed for their migration. Other species of butterflies need the nectar to fuel their last mating flights and egg laying activities. Bees rely on the pollen for raising brood and the nectar for fueling the activities of the adults. Honey bees also store some of the nectar as honey to eat during the winter.
However, late summer and early fall are also traditional times for mowing fields and other open areas which eliminates this valuable food source. Simply waiting until after the first killing frost has occurred before mowing those locations will allow pollinators to take advantage of the flowers at a time when they are making their final preparations for winter.
Shannon Trimboli is a beekeeper, farmer, wildlife biologist, and author. She owns Grassy Roads Farm and Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting. Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting specializes in plants and habitat consulting services for honey bees, native pollinators, and wildlife conservation. In 2018, her first book, Plants Honey Bees Use in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, was published. Shannon also writes a weekly blog called Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife. The blog features profiles of pollinators and wildlife, tips for attracting pollinators and wildlife, highlights of different plants for pollinators and wildlife, and life on the farm and nursery. You can sign up to have her blog emailed to you.