Creating Local, Pollinator-Friendly Habitats with Native Seeds

Pollinator species are responsible for approximately 1/3 of the food we consume each day. Yet, pollinators are at a critical point in species survival. There are many reasons for this steep decline, but experts agree that planting more native nectar and pollen sources will positively impact their health and survival rate. 

The plight of honeybees, monarch butterflies, birds, bats and other native pollinators have placed a renewed sense of urgency on the development and conservation of local pollinator habitats. Our goal is to remind farmers, homeowners, government agencies and non-government organizations that the native seed mix choices they make can provide pollinator-friendly habitats that make a difference for pollinator species within our local environments.

A honeybee enjoys the pollinator habitat provided by Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Milkweed)
Monarch butterfly on New England aster

When planting a native pollinator habitat, each species should be carefully considered for bee and pollinator health in order to help restoration efforts and combat declining pollinator populations with sustainability in mind.

Ernst Seeds has collaborated with researchers at The Center for Pollinator Research at Pennsylvania State University, as well as other institutions and organizations. We have learned about the impact that different plant species have on the overall wellbeing of native pollinator species. This knowledge has enabled us to fine-tune the species that we focus on. Native plant species provide essential nectar and pollen forage, as well as nesting opportunities for pollinators. We supply the appropriate plant species to support the dietary and habitat needs of pollinators across Eastern North America.

Ready to get started? Browse our Pollinator Favorites Seed Mixes!

Learn More By Reading Our Pollinator Blogs

‘Blind Queen’ Honeybee Study Q&A With Charlie Vorisek

The PA Queen Project and the HHBBC, with support from Penn State University and Purdue University, collaborated on a study comparing colonies with varroa mite-resistant queens versus non-varroa mite-resistant queens from 2018 to 2019. The study enlisted 100 hobbyist...

Creating Low-Impact, Pollinator-Friendly Solar Energy Sites with Native Seeds

Solar farms can (and should) do more than produce clean energy. Creating pollinator habitat at solar energy sites means renewable energy in a sustainable landscape that benefits us all. As the sight of rows upon rows of solar panels sprawling across the landscape...

A Tribute to The Monarch Butterfly: How to Turn Your Backyard Into a Butterfly Sanctuary

A Tribute to The Monarch Butterfly: How to Turn Your Backyard Into a Butterfly Sanctuary By Hermann SamanoIconic is the most appropriate word to describe the Monarch butterfly. Most of us have fond childhood memories of the unmistakable orange and black beauty...

Understanding the Nutritional Needs of Bees Can Help Drive Pollinator Conservation Toward Better Outcomes

Given the current realities of pesticide use, habitat destruction, parasites and disease, climate change and air pollution among yet other stressors, there is no denying that conserving bees is a complex problem demanding complex solutions. Poor nutrition, linked to...

Vindicating the Goldenrod

Allergy sufferers often curse the golden sea of blooms from goldenrods that appear in fallow fields, landscapes and along roadsides from July to November. Sadly, these complaints are based on an unfortunate case of mistaken identity. Both members of the aster family...

Pollinator Habitat Solutions for Private Sector and Government Landowners

There are many ways landowners can make an impact on the alarming declines of pollinators. They can provide pollinator habitat while cost-effectively maintaining their land. Homeowners, corporations, public and private institutions and agencies are installing pollinator meadows, strips and gardens into their properties and finding that maintenance costs are lower than turf. The cumulative effect of the culture change has the potential to stem the decline of pollinators and restore them to healthy numbers.

The 2018 Farm Bill made pollinators and pollinator habitats a priority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) This Bill also authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to encourage the development of habitat for pollinators and support conservation agriculture programs and initiatives. Learn more about available programs and initiatives for farmers.

Many fruit and vegetable growers are now planting pollinator meadows adjacent to their row crops and orchards, commonly referred to as buffer strips. These pollinator meadows help increase both honeybee and native bee populations by providing food and nectar when the cash crop is not in bloom.

Start planning ahead with our project planner! Create different project boards, save selected seed mixes and more. Whether you’re a Landscape Architect trying to keep track of different clients, or a homeowner looking to create unique lists for different land plots, keeping record of your ideas is key to success.

Incorporating Pollinator-Friendly Native Seed Mixes into Solar Energy Farms

Solar energy farm sites can have a holistic approach to sustainability by incorporating pollinator-friendly seed mixes into their revegetation plans. In doing so, they provide habitat for insects and wildlife, increase pollinator activity to nearby crops, increase water infiltration and more.

Ernst Seeds’ Solar Farm Seed Mixes are pre-made mixes that work with most solar energy sites in the eastern United States and Canada. We also offer custom seed mixes, tailored to specific solar energy site needs.

Pollinator & Research Organizations We Work With

Fresh Energy

Minnesota-Based Fresh Energy is a nationally-recognized source of expert knowledge on the use of native species to vegetate solar energy sites. These sites planted with deep-rooted native flowers and grasses capture and filter stormwater, build topsoil, and provide healthy food for pollinators and other beneficial insects.

In 2018, Fresh Energy expanded this work and created the Center for Pollinators in Energy. The Center for Pollinators in Energy is a national clearinghouse and catalyst for pollinator-friendly solar energy information, standards, best practices and state-based initiatives. Learn more.

Pollinator Partnership
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Consider registering your meadow with Pollinator Partnership’s Simply Have Areas Reserved for the Environment (S.H.A.R.E.) program. We proudly participated in the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, an effort to have 1,000,000 pollinator gardens and landscapes planted across the country, which has already been surpassed. This free registry is an easy way to participate. Learn more.
Pollinator Partnership

Monarch Vegetation Services (MVS) is an independently owned and operated, mobile ecological restoration company that specializes in native and pollinator-friendly vegetation installation. MVS has experience in installation for solar energy farms, meadows, capped landfills, wetlands, private or public lands. Learn more.

Pollinator Partnership

Vorisek’s Backyard Bee Farm serves primarily local customers and is one of the very few businesses in Northwest Pa offering locally and domestically produced honey and hive products. They have provided honeybee pollinator services for our seed production for many years. ​

Xerces Society
Organizations like the science-focused Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation protect wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Established in 1971, the Society is at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs.

We’ve partnered with The Xerces Society to offer a number of regional seed mixes approved by, and supporting its efforts. View Xerces Seed Mixes.

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