Over the last year, we have heard advice to slow down in doing our spring garden clean up, in order support insect life cycles. A lot of us have wondered about the specifics- when is it safe to move leaves and cut last year’s flower stems?
On Thursday I got more of an answer during a talk called the Secret Lives of Bees, by Nick Dorian and sponsored by the Trustees of the Reservations. Nick described life stages of all different types of bees and explained that the currently pupating or over-wintering bees (and other insects) will emerge throughout the spring, summer and fall. After they emerge and and forage, they will then need to find appropriate nesting material for next year’s generation. That also happens throughout the spring, summer and fall. The answer the garden clean up question needs to be more nuanced than giving a definite date for cleanup.
I found some very helpful and approachable cleanup guidelines on the Xerces Society website and I have attached their pdf on Nesting and Overwintering Habitat. Xerces dot com has a lot of interesting gardening information. I hope you find this helpful.