I Spy! — My Pollinator Resources List

It is impossible to list the many fine publications, websites, blogs, and apps on gardening for and learning more about pollinators. Below are the resource lists from:  I Spy! Who’s Using My Garden? A Pollinator Garden Workbook. Use them and others to help you build, improve, or monitor your pollinator paradise.

These resources focus on North American pollinators. 

All are available at your local bookstore or from online booksellers.

  • Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Douglas W. Tallamy – Timber Press
  • Attracting Native Pollinators by the Xerces Society – Storey Press
  • The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn – Ten Speed Press
  • Pollinator-Friendly Gardening by Rhonda Fleming Hayes – Voyageur Press
  • The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North American Bees by Joseph S. Wilson & Olivia Messinger Carril – Princeton University Press
  • Bees: An Identification & Native Plant Forage Guide (Midwest, Great Lakes, & Northeast Regions) by Heather Holm – Pollination Press LLC
  • Bumblebees of North America: An Identification Guide by Paul H. Williams, Robbin W. Thorp, Leif L. Richardson, Sheila R. Colla – Princeton Field Guides
  • California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists by Gordon W. Frankie, Robbin W. Thorp, Rollin E. Coville, and Barbara Ertter – Heydey Press.  See also the pocket guide – Common Bees in California Gardens Jadallah, Frankie, Thorp, Coville, Leon-Guerrero, and FengUniversity of California pub. #3552
  • Field Guide: The Common Bees of California (and Western U.S.) by Gretchen Lebuhn – University of California Press
  • The Bee: A Natural History  by Noah Wilson-RichPrinceton University Press
  • Mason Bee Revolution: How the Hardest Working Bee Can Save the World One Backyard at a Time by Dave Hunter and Jill Lightner – Skipstone Press
  • Butterflies and Moths – (Updated) A Golden Guide by Robert Mitchell and Herbert S. Zim,  – St. Martin’s Press
  • Hummingbirds and Butterflies by Bill Thompson III, Connie Toops (Peterson Field Guides/Bird Watcher’s Digest Backyard Bird Guides)

Search the internet by subject to find many more resources

Post your images to Bug Guide (insects only) or iNaturalist (all life) for help with identifications.


printable pocket guides and posters

The Pollinator Partnership and Xerces Society are tremendous educational resources. I highly recommend visits to their sites and support for their efforts.

photo site




Nature:  iNaturalist (iOS)  submit plant and animal sightings. Help with identification.

Bees: U.S. Bumble Bee Watch (iOS. Android coming) Bumble Bee Watch app created by Birds In the Hand, LLC

Butterflies & moths: Butterfly Collection: (iOS) Photos of butterflies from around the world. http://hunter.pairsite.com/butterfly/

Birds: “Merlin Bird”: by Cornell Lab: http://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/ quick identification tool for all levels of birders

WHAT PLANTS ARE BEST FOR MY POLLINATORS? Answer: Native plants start at the wholesale growers’, then cared for by the nursery without spray or systemic pesticides. When buying at a nursery, ask whether its plants are pesticide free. Pesticides include chemicals that kill insects, fungus and mildew, or other plant pathogens. 

Honeybee in native spring flowers

Use books, online, and local area resources to learn about gardening for pollinators. What pollen and nectar sources do yours prefer? Which pollinators are “generalists,” those that visit a wide range of flowers (honeybees and hummingbirds, for example)? Which are “specialists” connected to specific plants (monarch and milkweed)? The specialists are disappearing most rapidly, so try to meet their host and nectar plant needs first. Don’t forget to include shrubs and trees.


Check your local university’s Cooperative Extension Service (or Canadian equivalent), USDA office, state Native Plant Societies, local Master Gardeners, public pollinator garden or nurseries knowledgeable about local pollinator plants. Whenever possible, plant natives, as they co-evolved with pollinators and are the best plants to ensure the best nutrition and reproductive outcomes for pollinators. 

U.S. and Canada The best resource for finding native plants in your area is your local native plant society. Many have a website and social media presence. The links below will help you locate (and join!) yours and more.