Welcome to Wisconsin Pollinators

Wisconsin Pollinators is a comprehensive resource to Wisconsin native pollinators including bees, butterflies and birds. There is a catalog of Wisconsin native plants and flower garden plants to create your own pollinator habitat.

Why are pollinators important? Approximately three quarters of the world’s major food crops require or benefit from animal pollination. This includes many fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, currants, plums, apples, sweet cherries, pears, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, squashes, and tomatoes. Pollinators also are beneficial for seed production in crops such as carrot, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and many herbs.

How do I attract and support native pollinators? Recent declines in honeybee populations have gained much attention, but there also have been notable declines in some native bees, including many species of bumblebees. Local populations of all types of bees can be supported by cultivating flowering plants, providing nesting sites, and eliminating the use of pesticides.

Cultivating flowering plants. Provide food and nesting habitat for bees by landscaping with flowering plants. Unused areas of a lawn can be converted into pollinator habitats. Provide a diversity of plants that will bloom from early spring (when some bees start to emerge) to late fall (when some bees such as bumblebee queens are preparing to overwinter). Plants that are especially good for bees include pussy willow, plum, cherry, blueberry, New Jersey tea, American basswood, wild lupine, anise hyssop, purple prairie clover, pale purple coneflower, wild bergamot, Culver’s root, butterfly milkweed, woodland and prairie sunflower, prairie blazing star, great blue lobelia, showy and stiff goldenrods, and smooth blue aster. In addition, common garden herbs such as spearmint, oregano, sweet marjoram, basil, borage, lavender and catnip/catmint are very attractive to bees.