This spring help improve your habitat for pollinators!
When it comes to our pollinators you often have to accept a few blemishes for beauty in your landscape. The old twigs and piles of branches that may appear to be untidy are exactly what about 30% of our many native pollinators require for nesting sites (Tunnel Nest Management, Xerces Society). To help provide shelter and attract our native pollinators to a place where they can bring up babies you can build a nest block. All it takes is drilling different size holes between 3/32″ and 3/8″ within the preservative free wood block to provide a variety of egg laying sites. The female will build and provision each brood cell with a mixture of pollen and nectar onto which she lays a single egg before sealing the cell. The offspring metamorphose through egg, larva and pupa before emerging as adults.
For More Information about Building a Nest Block: Download instructions from The Xerces Society.
For more ideas to improve your habitat for pollinators check out the Pollinator Gardens chapter of Buzz Into Action, The Insect Curriculum for Grades K-4.
For a fun science snack try demonstrating the egg laying in a tunnel or tube. Use celery as the tube, raisins as the eggs, honey + maple syrup as the nectar and pollen and a dab of peanut butter to divide the cells.
David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula. He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife. You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com