Last week I got to wondering exactly who were these winged insects visiting my flowers? After extensive examinations and futile photographic attempts I found that only two types of my wee visitors were actually gathering pollen. The honeybee and our own Western bumblebee (Bombus occidentalis). Can’t tell if the honeybees are domesticated or wild (they have no tags). Turns out most of the others are some sort of fly. Our urban environment is not known for its bug diversity, but our yard is now the poster child for how to turn it all around. Two easy add-ons and one ‘don’t do this at home’.
- Dig up lawn and amend soil with compost from local recycler.
- Plant herbs, veggies, native plants and allow volunteers (poppy) to fill in the blanks
- Don’t use pesticides or herbicides to remove something. My one exception to this is use of a slug/snail bait at the beginning spring, a relatively non-toxic one consisting of iron phosphate (naturally occuring mineral). The raccoon seems to keep on top of them the rest of the year.
Now, this may not be the best or the purest advice. If you are in Seattle I suggest you contact Seattle Tilth for their Maritime Northwest Guide and Washington Toxic Coalition for pest control methods. That said, my front yard is a buzzing!
Note: Beware honey laundering! Honey is best bought from really local, small source bee folk such as Timmons Honey in Graham, WA. That is where my last jar came from.