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May: Encourage Pollinators

May 1, 2014

Are you new to Homegrown Challenges?  If so, click here for more information.

In May, we challenge you to: Encourage Pollinators!  Pollinators are insects or animals that help pollinate plants- moving pollen grains between different flowers of the same species.  Pollination needs to happen for plants to produce fruit and seeds, so pollinators are essential for healthy habitats and ecosystems, and for successful gardening.  Bees are the main insect pollinator, but bats, hummingbirds, butterflies, and many other insects are all important pollinators too.  Sadly, bee communities have been declining over the past years as pesticide use has increased, so they need our help!  This month, help the cause by planting flowers pollinators like, feeding hummingbirds, or supporting local beekeepers.

Follow the May challenges below to encourage pollinators.  When you do, snap a photo and let us know.  Submitted challenges count towards admission to a free celebration at Phipps Conservatory, and entry into this month’s drawing!  This month you could win four free passes to Phipps, or a jar of local honey.


TASTE:Taste local honey, or try making a recipe with honey instead of sugar.

Check farmers’ markets or food co-ops for local honey.  Use honey in tea, on yogurt, spread on toast, or try using it in a recipe like honey glazed carrots.


GARDEN: Plant wildflowers, or a pollinator garden.

Click here for tips and what plants to choose to attract birds, bees or butterflies.


VISIT:Visit a beekeeper.

Attend a tour, talk to a beekeeper, or take a beekeeping class.  Look into events, classes or tours at Burgh Bees, Country Barn Farm, or Apoidea Apiary.  Other upcoming events in Pittsburgh:

May 10: Find beekeeper Craig Jahnke at the Boyd Community Center Gardenfest

May 17: Bees Please Weekend Happening with Burgh Bees at Phipps

May 24: Meet the Bees at the Children’s Museum, with beekeeper Joseph Zgurzynski


MAKE:Make a hummingbird feeder. 

Use recycled materials if you can.  Learn more about hummingbirds and feeders here.

Have another idea?  If you have an idea for a different activity, or you want to take it a step further, go ahead!  Just send us a description and photo, and if it relates to the theme we’ll count it.

All submissions should be sent to, and include a photo, your name, and the challenge(s) you completed.


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