Opportunities abound in cities, towns, and campuses to support bees, butterflies, and other wildlife. Many outdoor spaces—from parks and school grounds to roadsides and business campuses—can provide valuable pollinator habitat. Along with new habitat, pollinators need protection from pesticides. Thoughtful pest management efforts work to reduce pesticide use and mitigate risks when pesticides are used. Such efforts can enhance the value of pollinator habitat and serve communities, offering a variety of benefits such as keeping children safe and protecting water quality. Using an approach known as integrated pest management (IPM) is one way to meet these goals.
IPM emphasizes prevention first and seeks to eliminate the underlying causes of plant diseases, weeds, and insect problems rather than relying on routine use of pesticides. Practitioners discourage pests through techniques such as modifying irrigation, amending soil, or preventing weeds from setting seed. Pesticides are available if other methods fail to keep pests at acceptable levels, and any applications focus on minimizing unintended consequences, such as harm to people and pollinators.
As a manager of municipal property, campus, or other urban landscape, when you make the decision to support pollinators, you should strive to incorporate IPM practices in your work.