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 my upcoming book: 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.
SUGGESTED BOOKS ON POLLINATOR I.D. AND GARDENS
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 Le Buhn – 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. Throp, Rollin E. Coville, and Barbara Ertter – Heydey Press. See also the pocket guide – Common Bees in California Gardens Jadallah, Frankie, Throp, Coville, Leon-Guerrero, and Feng – University 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-Rich – Princeton 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
printable pocket guides and posters
- “Identifying the Western Bumble Bee” (Xerces Society) https://xerces.org/identification-guides/bumble-bee-pocket-id/
- Encyclopedia of Life (EOL): “Bee Observer Cards” (Harvard University & National Park Service) http://eol.org/info/disc_observer#bees.pdf
- Pollinator Partnership (Download the free pdf versions or purchase to support the Partnership) http://pollinator.org/shop/books
- “Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees” By Beatriz Moisset, Ph.D and Stephen Buchmann, Ph.D (Pollinator Partnership)
- Common Groups of California Bees (UC Berkeley Urban Bee Lab) http://www.helpabee.org/common-bee-groups-of-ca.html
- USGS: Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab (photos of the lab’s mounted, identified specimens) https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/
BUTTERFLY AND MOTH I.D.
- Welcome Wildlife: Basic and Clear Characteristics of Butterflies vs Moths. (a good starting place) https://www.welcomewildlife.com/all-about-butterflies-and-moths/
- Butterflies and Moths of North America: Help with identifying species https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/identify
- Discover Life: use characteristics to drill down to your species. A challenge to use, so not recommended for beginners, but comprehensive. http://www.discoverlife.org/nh/
- Xerces Society (U.S. and Canada) Monarch & Bumble bee, Pollinator conservation programs and info. https://xerces.org/
- Monarch Joint Venture https://monarchjointventure.org/
- Audubon: How to Create a Hummingbird-Friendly Yard http://www.audubon.org/content/how-create-hummingbird-friendly-yard
- Hummingbirds at Home Citizen Science Project: http://www.hummingbirdsathome.org/
- Hummingbird Checklists by Country: http://www.rubythroat.org/ChecklistsCountriesMain.html
- Hummingbird Checklists U.S.: http://www.rubythroat.org/checklistsusstatesmain.html
- Hummingbird Species U.S. and Canada: http://www.hummingbird-guide.com/hummingbird-species.html
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
Plants: U.S. “Bee Smart©Pollinator Gardener”: Pollinator Partnership http://pollinator.org/bee-smart-app 1000 U.S. native plant listed by region. Filters “pollinators to attract, light and soils, bloom color, and plant type.”
WHAT PLANTS ARE BEST FOR MY POLLINATORS? Answer: Native plants first at the grower’s, 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.
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.
ONLINE AND LOCAL RESOURCES
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.
- North American Native Plant Society http://nanps.org/native-plant-societies/
- Plant Native (regional plant lists and native plant nurseries in your area) http://www.plantnative.org/index.htm
- USDA Plants Database: “The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.” https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov/java/
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: https://www.wildflower.org/ Look under the “Native Plants” tab.
- Xerces Society (helpful chart includes bloom seasons): https://xerces.org/pollinator-conservation/plant-lists/
- Native Plant Finder — ranks by butterfly and moth use as host plants https://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/
- Recommended U.S. and Canadian native plants by state and province: https://www.wildflower.org/collections/
- Butterflies and Moths of North America: Help with identifying species and their individual habitats, food, and reproductive needs. https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/identify