The federal government has announced a new $3 million program to step up support for honeybees in five states in the Upper Midwest. Those five — Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and North and South Dakota — have huge numbers of honeybee colonies at various times of the year, perhaps 65 percent of the nation’s total. Beekeepers truck them around the country in the spring to pollinate commercial crops.Honeybee colony collapse (and a corresponding decline in native pollinators) is a huge problem whose causes are still not completely understood. As I've written about before, I'm a big fan of food. Not to sound too melodramatic, but no pollinators means no food.
Before we despair, one thing scientists do believe can help mitigate this problem is ensuring a plentiful supply of pollen that is rich in nutrition. And here's where I again sing the praises of native plants, which, unsurprisingly, are great sources of nutritious pollen for native pollinators. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (how cool is that?) has plant suggestions divided by geographical region. You can select your region and then click the link for Regional Plant Lists to find appropriate (and beautiful) plants for your yard.