Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Pollinators

At the LANL we follow the Department of Energy’s pollinator protection plan which is an initiative to support pollinator habitat enhancement.
February 2, 2015

Monarch butterfly on Firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella). Planting late blooming native nectar flowers helps our migrating Monarch populations. Photo credit Monica Koski.

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  • Environmental Communication & Public Involvement
  • P.O. Box 1663 MS K491
  • Los Alamos, NM 87545
  • (505) 667-3792

Pollinators

At the LANL we follow the Department of Energy’s pollinator protection plan which is an initiative to support pollinator habitat enhancement. The plan encourages sites to pursue opportunities to protect pollinators and enhance pollinator habitat. In general, managing for pollinators involves providing the basic habitat elements of food, reproduction, and protection.

Invertebrate pollinators such as the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and many bumble bee species—including the western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis), Morrison bumble bee (Bombus morrisoni), and American bumble bee (Bombus pensylvanicus)—are in decline and have been documented in northern New Mexico. If preemptive actions are taken, they can guide best management practices and future management actions that may be necessary if any of these species are listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Below are some of the best management practices for monarchs and other native pollinators suggested in the Los Alamos Pollinator Protection Plan, when consistent with the site mission:

  • Plant native milkweed and wildflowers where possible for mitigation and restoration and/or to enhance existing habitat. Use seed from native forbs, grasses, and other plant species beneficial to local pollinators, and prioritize plant species that will provide continuous blooms from early spring to late fall for use in restoration and mitigation projects.
  • Mow during non-blooming seasons (late October through April). Prioritize mowing activities to occur before July 1, and preferably do not mow from July 1 to October 15. If mowing is necessary during that period, EPC subject matter experts should check the milkweed patches for Monarch eggs, caterpillars, and pupae before mowing.
  • Remove invasive species opportunistically. Invasive non-flower species—particularly invasive Eurasian grasses—do not provide food for pollinators and restrict native bee–nesting areas.
  • Increase strategies that include native pollinator-friendly plants into standard seed mixes.
  • Increase public awareness of the importance of pollinators and the steps that can be taken to protect them.