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Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife – March 5, 2023

Table of Contents

Shannon’s Note

Spring has arrived! Our resident birds are starting to sing in the mornings. The native spring ephemeral wildflowers are beginning to emerge. The spring azure butterflies are out. And this year’s bumble bee queens are foraging on warmer days. Our earliest native ground nesting bees are also emerging and are actively looking for nesting sites.

One of our early native ground nesting bees that I photographed on our property in 2021. I find them in the same spot on our property every year.

Early native ground nesting bees often appear in the same general area each year and can be highly picky as to where they nest. The first signs of them are a flurry of activity created by multiple bees that are a little bigger than a housefly flying rapidly back and forth only a few inches above the ground. This is what is currently happening in the area where they frequently nest on our property. Before too much longer we’ll start finding holes in that area which look like someone jabbed a number two pencil into the ground and then created a not-quite-right anthill around it.

If you find them on your property, don’t worry. These are very docile and you’re going to have to try REALLY hard to make one sting you. They’re only active as adults for a few weeks each year before they die. During that time, each female has to mate, keep herself fed, find a nesting site, dig her nesting tunnel, lay her eggs, gather a ball of pollen for each egg she lays, create a separate room for each of her eggs, and keep from getting eaten by anything. These busy mamas don’t have time to stop and sting anyone. They would much rather fly away from perceived danger if given the chance.

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Nursery Update

The nursery is doing well and we are busy planting seeds. We were hoping to be able to offer a few plants for sale this month, but none of our overwintered plants are quite to the point where we feel comfortable selling them. They need a little longer, but by early April we should definitely have plants ready. April is going to be a really busy month with multiple plant sales. I’ll be updating the website calendar with those events soon.

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Upcoming Deliveries

March is the last month of our winter deliveries. Next weekend (Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11) will be the next delivery. Honey, books, and gift cards for native plants and consulting services are all available.

Biweekly sales / deliveries that include native plants will begin next month. We will also be making an exciting announcement next month for our customers in the Bowling Green area.

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Available Items:

Books, Gift Certificates, and Honey

Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife to Your Yard: 15 Free and Easy Ways ($11)
Planting for Honey Bees in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys ($32)
Honey from my bees in Barren County ($15)
Gift Certificates – good for any of my products or services
(you choose the amount)

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Pre-Order Logistics and What to Expect

  • E-mail the following information to
    • List of items, sizes, and quantities that you want to order.
  • Ordering deadline: noon on Thursday, March 9.
    • Orders are filled in the order that I receive them.
    • I will make sure I have everything you want and send you the total for the order.
  • On the day of the delivery:
    • I will have your order ready to go when you arrive.
    • You can pay by cash, check, or card.

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March Tasks When Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife

  • If you haven’t cleaned your birdboxes or put up any new ones that you want to put out this season, then get them out as soon as possible.
    • Many of our resident species, like bluebirds, have been checking out potential nesting sites for quite a while now.
    • The sooner you get yours out, the more likely it is to be occupied.
    • Sneak peek: They’ll be a Backyard Ecology podcast on this topic later this month.
  • Watch any sunny, bare patches of soil or sunny, sparsely vegetated areas for signs of early ground nesting native bees.
    • If you find any on your property, leave the area as undisturbed as possible.
    • Since these bees are so docile, you can sit or lie within arms length of their tunnels to watch them. Just be really still or they may stay away / stay in their nesting tunnels rather than risk being eaten by you.
  • If you’ve left the flower stalks from last year’s flowers standing this winter, then congratulate yourself. As the redbuds start to bloom in your area, you can begin cutting back last year’s vegetation in your gardens.
    • Leave approximately 18-24 inches of the stems standing for the stem nesting bees to use.
    • If possible move the cut vegetation to an area where you can prop it up or loosely pile it for another month or so in order to give all of the insects overwintering as tiny eggs or chrysalises a chance emerge.
  • Begin watching the sunny, south side of any tulip poplar or hickory trees you find for spring tree top flasher larvae and pupae.
  • Walk around your house, garage, and any other structures paying careful attention to the siding, eaves, soffit vents, and attic vents.
    • If there are gaps, openings, or tears in the screens, repair those as soon as possible to reduce the likelihood of critters deciding that your home would make a nice place to raise their babies in this spring.
    • Preventive exclusion is the cheapest and most effective manner of dealing with this type of potential human / wildlife conflict.
  • Look along your roadside, near moist ditches, and in open areas for clumps of frilly leaves that belong to poison hemlock.
    • This is the best time to kill it and get rid of it. See the Backyard Ecology Resources section below for information on identifying and treating this invasive species.
  • This is also a good time of the year to kill any bush honeysuckle that you find growing on your property.
  • Take time to enjoy the spring ephemeral wildflowers that are beginning to pop up and the early season pollinators.

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Relevant Backyard Ecology Resources

Planning & Management

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Species Profiles & Observing Nature

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Busy Bee Nursery and Consulting

Helping you create the pollinator and wildlife habitat of your dreams, so you can enjoy your land and care for the plants and animals that also call your property home.


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