Saving Wisconsin's Native Pollinators
The main threats facing pollinators, in general, are habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation. As native vegetation is replaced by roadways, manicured lawns, crops and non-native gardens, pollinators lose the food and nesting sites necessary for survival. Migratory pollinators, such as monarchs, face unique challenges. As the distance between the suitable habitat patches and their migration route increases, more individuals may die during their journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Where can I learn more about Wisconsin's pollinators?
Explore the Wisconsin DNR's rare butterfly, moth and bee species pages, which contain information on where they are found in the state, their level of legal protection and photos. Life history and management considerations are available for many species, and new information is continually being added.
For more information about our pollinators, here are a few additional resources.
- Bully for bees
- Learn more with monarch webinars
- What you can do to help the monarch
- Bees of Wisconsin (Wolf & Ascher 2008)
- Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
- Pollinator Partnership
- Become a supporter of the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative
- UW Extension's Pollinators
- Read about some of our accomplishments in protecting pollinators
- What are Wisconsin's pollinators?
In Wisconsin, most pollinators are insects like bees, butterflies and moths. Wisconsin's pollinators also include hummingbirds and some beetles and flies. The species of bats found in Wisconsin are not pollinators.
Wisconsin is home to many pollinators that are rare and in decline, including several state and federally-protected species and other species of concern:
- How can I create homes and habitats for pollinators?
There are many DNR and non-DNR online resources with recommendations on how to create homes and habitats. The best choice is to plant native plants.
Where to Get Native Plants and Seeds
- DNR's Simple Steps to Help Pollinators
- Native Plants for beginners
- Plant for monarchs
- The Field Museum's Urban Monarch Conservation
- Xerces' Pollinator Plants Great Lakes Guide
- Xerces' Pollinator Meadow Installation Guide and Checklist
- Pollinator Partnership's Eco-Regional Planting Guides
- DNR's Native Plant Recommendations for Landscaping
- Wisconsin School Garden Initiative
Give water and shelter: Pollinators need water to drink and safe places to rest, avoid bad weather and spend the winter. You can provide brush and leaf piles, create bee nest boxes, leave patches of bare earth and provide water, such as a bird bath.
- What funding is available for creating pollinator habitats?
The DNR's Landowner Incentive Program provides technical and funding assistance to landowners to create and restore habitats for pollinators. The DNR also administers many other grant and loan programs.
- What opportunities exist to volunteer with the DNR or get involved with citizen science related to pollinators?
For many of our pollinators, there is a lack of data on population status and trends. Please help fill that knowledge gap and learn more about citizen science with the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network or become involved in a citizen science project:
- Bumble bee projects — Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade
- Monarch projects — The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project , eButterfly (iNaturalist) or Journey North .
Become a volunteer for the Wisconsin rare plant monitoring program
- How can I identify my photo of an insect?
- Where should I report an observation of an insect?
For many of our pollinators, there is a lack of data on population status or trends. Please help fill that knowledge gap and report your observations:
- Bumblebee observations — Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade
- Monarch observations — The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project , eButterfly (iNaturalist) , or Journey North .
- Other butterfly and moth observations — Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory , eButterfly (iNaturalist) , or Butterflies and Moths of North America .
- What are other Wisconsin pollinator projects that I can join?
- Join the Karner Blue Volunteer Monitoring Program
- Connect with the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative
- Support and implement conservation strategies in the Wisconsin Pollinator Plan (DATCP)
- Become a volunteer for the Wisconsin rare plant monitoring program
- Sign-up for a field trip with Wisconsin's Natural Resources Foundation
- Attend a Wisconsin citizen-based monitoring event
- Become a Wisconsin Master Naturalist or Master Gardener
- Register your pollinator garden on the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
- Participate in a Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Association butterfly count or field trip
- Join a Monarch Joint Venture monitoring, education, research or conservation project.
- Become a Wisconsin State Natural Areas volunteer