Using fall blooming plants in the landscape will give insects an extra boost for late-season and winter. These days, insect population decline has more attention than ever. The most popular of which is the Monarch Butterfly. There is also frequent news over the Honeybee (Apis mellifera).
Though not native, the honeybee has become an important part of our ecosystem. However, there's now a constant threat to native bees as well. In Wisconsin, we list the rusty-patched bumblebee as endangered. Once common, habitat loss, insecticide use, and climate change have lasting effects on bee population. These days, major organizations like the UW-Madison Arboretum (among many others) work to preserve bee habitats and encourage them to thrive.
You can help too. Simply choosing plants in your landscape that encourage the same safe habitat and diversity will work to correct the balance.
Loss of habitat and rampant pesticide will begin to impact more native pollinators, like other bees, butterflies, beetles, etc. In general, we estimate that we owe 1/3 all fruits and vegetables that we consume to the work of pollinators. One out of every three bites!
Fall has once again arrived and as the dipping temperatures have us reaching for warm drink to ward off the morning chill, your local pollinators still need sustenance beyond pumpkin spice lattes. By including fall blooming plants in the yard for your local bugs and butterflies you will help them make the transition to winter and offset habitat loss. We typically stand in awe of fall color in Autumn, but we should also consider what's happening within and around those trees. Choose fall blooming plants with flowering times that stretch into October to keep your yard brighter for longer. You will also be supporting your local pollinators as they prepare for the winter.