Pollinators & Bee City USA

Did You Know?

Did you know that the City of Norcross became a Bee City USA affiliate in September 2018 when we adopted this resolution?  As part of the Sustainable Norcross Commission (SNC), the Bee Subcommittee was established to help spread the word about the amazing impact that bees and other pollinators make on our community!

Click here to read the city's Integrated Pest Management Plan.
bee siting on purple flower
norcross pollinator-friendly garden sign in raised garden bed
bee in garden with white, red and orange flowers
raised garden bed with lots of colorful flowers

What Can You Do to Protect and Encourage Pollinators?

Did you know that you can encourage bees and other pollinator’s practically year-round in Georgia?  There are many wild and commercially available plants that serve as sources of pollen and nectar for bees in the South and in Georgia.  Bees and other pollinators need a lot of blooms all summer long to encourage and build up local populations.  And, there is a lot you can do to make your own backyard better for bees. One of the great things about bees and butterflies (as well as flies, beetles, and other pollinating insects) is that they don’t need a lot of space. Pollinator conservation isn’t like protecting wolves, eagles, or even songbirds. Those animals require large swaths of habitat—often undisturbed and miles from towns and cities—as well as movement corridors through developed areas. Pollinators, in contrast, can live in a suburban yard or a downtown park, a community garden or a streetside parking strip—and easily fly among such sites. Although of course they need habitat too, it is much easier for one person to make a positive impact on pollinators, because one pot of plants, one strip of flowers along a fence, or one garden can make a big difference.

The Xerxes Society’s Bring Back the Pollinators campaign is based on the fact that pollinators need only a few things, which anyone can provide in a remarkably small space: flowers from which to drink nectar and gather pollen, a place to lay eggs or build a nest, and freedom from pesticides. These form the first three of the Pollinator Protection Pledge’s four principles. Here’s why:

  1. A square foot of flowers is better than none, and if we each do that, there will be flowers everywhere! Of course, we won’t object if you choose to plant more. To find the best flowers for your area, check out the Xerces Society’s resource Providing Wildflowers for Pollinators.
  2. It’s important to make sure pollinators have somewhere to nest (bees) or lay eggs (butterflies). After all, if there is no future generation, why bother supporting the current one? Roughly 30% of native bees nest in tunnels in snags or hollow stems. The other 70% will dig tunnels in the ground. Our page Providing Nest Sites for Pollinators will give you suggestions for how to create bee nest blocks and retain bare soil.
  3. Insecticides kill insects. For the most part, they do not discriminate among species. That in itself is plenty enough reason to avoid using pesticides in your pollinator garden. If you need more explanation, read Protect Pollinators from Pesticides.
Once you’ve got a pollinator garden—which can range in size from planter pots on your stoop to a whole suburban plot—you’ll probably start seeing places nearby that could be better too. That brings me to the fourth (and final) principle of Bring Back the Pollinators: Share the word. This can be anything from chatting with neighbors about what you’re doing in your yard, to sharing photos on social media, to writing letters to your local paper. Or you could put up a pollinator habitat sign courtesy of the City of Norcross Bee Committee (a subcommittee of the Sustainable Norcross Commission).

Excerpted from “Bring Back the Pollinators During National Pollinator Week by Matthew Shepherd, June 17, 2019 www.xerxes.org/blog

To get started, check out this list of both native and commercially available plants provided by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Commercially available plants can be purchased at local plant nurseries or home improvement retailers with garden centers such as Lowe’s.

National Pollinator Week

Did you know that there’s an entire week dedicated to celebrating pollinators? National Pollinator Week is celebrated the third full week in June every year. There are over 150 Bee City USA affiliates, including the City of Norcross, that will be doing something or providing content to celebrate!  For instance, the city has a seven-day Pollinate Norcross Activity Workbook for kids of all ages to work through. (Preschool-2nd Grade Workbook | 3rd-5th Grade Workbook) Plus, there are always things you can do in your own yard; we've suggested a few in our What Can You Do to Protect and Encourage Pollinators? section of the website.

Pollinator Gardens at Local Schools

One of the initiatives of the Sustainable Norcross Commission is to educate school communities, residents, and businesses about sustainability practices. A team of community volunteers and business partners have put those practices to work by building pollinator-friendly gardens at Beaver Ridge ES, Norcross ES, and Summerour MS to help teach students about pollinators and the butterfly life cycle. The gardens are filled with flowering plants that attract pollinators. Newly installed rain barrels ensure the gardens have a ready and sustainable supply of water, and teach students about natural resources and how to conserve them. The Bee City gardens include pollinator-friendly plants and trees like Butterfly Milkweed, Blue-stem Goldenrod, Red Buckeye, Coneflower, Black Eyed Susan and Redbud trees.

Read more:
‘BEE the Change’: Norcross Cluster schools host pollinators with new gardens Article from Communique Magazine
Affiliate Spotlight: Norcross, Georgia Blog Article from BeeCityUSA.org
bres ms bevel planting butterfly bush
Lowes associates picking out butterfly plants