Pollinators (for vegetable gardens)
Most people associate bees with pollination but native pollinators include butterflies and moths, native bees, and a wide range of other insects. In addition, many birds and some animals also are pollinators. How important are pollinators to us? Apart from the beauty of butterflies and moths, pollination plays a very important direct connection with our survival. One out of every three spoonfuls of food we eat have been pollinated.
Native bees are much less aggressive than their European counterparts, such the well-known european honey bee. Many native bees don't even have stingers. Research has shown that some native bees are more effective at pollinating fruits than are honey bees. Tomatoes, for example, are more productive when pollinated by bumble bees. A recent study showed that 500 native blue orchard bees can do the job of 40,000 european honeybees. European honey bees populations are dramatically dropping with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Because most native bees live solitary lives, CCD does not affect them.
Build it and they will come. Most native pollinators are attracted specifically to native plants, however by planting California native plants in conjunction with your fruits and vegetables, native pollinators will help spread the pollinating job around to your whole garden.
The following California native plants should attract native pollinators to your garden: