Frequently Asked Questions about Pollinators

1. What are Pollinators?

Pollinators can be a variety of animals that visit flowers. Some well-known examples are insects, such as bees, flies, and butterflies, or birds such as hummingbirds. Pollinators are essential for keeping ecosystems healthy, producing our food, and becoming food for other living things. Click here to learn more.

2. What type of insects and animals pollinate?

Bees, flies, butterflies, moths, some beetles and even wasps are common pollinators in the prairies. Click here to learn more.

3. Why are Pollinators Important?

Pollinators play a vital role in supporting the economy, environment and food production. Click here to learn more.

4. What issues are pollinators facing and why should I care?

Pollinators are facing a wide variety of problems including habitat loss, climate change, pesticides and diseases. Click here to learn more.

Pollinators are part of the glue that keeps an ecosystem together. About 85% of all flowering plants require a pollinator to make seed. This includes both plants in natural ecosystems and in the crops and orchards that we rely on for food. The pollinators themselves are also a source of food for other animals in the ecosystem, such as spiders, birds, or mammals. Click here to learn more.

5. How can I help protect the pollinators?

Check out the "Simple Steps to Help Pollinators" section of the website to learn more.

6. What is the risk of getting stung?

Bees and wasps that are actively foraging on flowers rarely sting and normally do so only if provoked by accidentally squishing them or stepping on them.  Most pollinating species of solitary bees and bumble bees found in Manitoba are not aggressive. However, you should avoid interacting directly with the nesting sites of bees and especially wasps as they can be aggressive when defending their homes. If you are accidentally stung calmly walk away from the site, gently brushing off any bees or wasps that follow you (do not swat at them).  

Pollinator Partnership has created a fact sheet describing bee behaviour and tips on how to successfully coexist and enjoy pollinators in your garden without the fear of being stung.  Check out the Inviting Bees to your Property, No fear of Stings brochure for more information. 

7. Where can I view pollinator-friendly gardens?


  • From late Spring to early Fall, Assiniboine Park Zoo visitors can explore the Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden. These gardens contain plants that attract local butterflies at all stages of their life cycle. Click here to learn more.
  • The Forks, in partnership with Nature Conservancy of Canada, has established a 20,000ft² native prairie garden which features native tall grasses and wildflowers. Click here to learn more.
  • The Living Prairie Museum is a 12 hectare (30 acre) tall grass prairie preserve located inside the City of Winnipeg. Set aside in 1968, this preserve is home to over 160 species of prairie plants and a great array of prairie wildlife and pollinators. Click here to learn more.
  • The grounds surrounding the Manitoba Legislative building feature a number of beautiful gardens, some of which are a mix of native and non-native plants. Click here to learn more about the Legislative building.


Other Towns and Communities:

  • Coming soon...
8. Where can I buy plants to create a pollinator-friendly garden in my backyard?

New for Spring 2020!  Bee Better Manitoba has launched a plant labelling program to help gardeners select pollinator friendly plants for their back yards, schools, and businesses.  Growers and retailers affix our Bee Better Manitoba QR label to plants that are native or derived from the prairie region, provide a food source including pollen and nectar, and have been grown without the use of systemic (residual) pesticides.  Scan the QR code on the label below to learn more about the new  labelling program.

bee better qr code

Bee Better Manitoba hopes to engage with additional growers and retailers to expand this pilot program within our province. If you would like to learn how to participate, please contact 

9. When should I start cleaning up my garden in the Spring?

As the snow melts and spring approaches, give pollinators some time to emerge before cleaning up for planting. Waiting until the May long weekend is a good rule of thumb. This will help ensure overwintering insects have had a chance to warm up, wake up, and move along. If you can't wait that long, you can move the plant material off to the side to let insects disperse before placing the material in your compost bin. Click here to learn more.

10. Can scents from flowers attract pollinators?

Floral scents are a complex mixture of volatile compounds and essential oils that flowers release into the air. While flowers can be similar in shape and/or colour, no two floral scents are exactly alike. The intensity of the scent tends to be highest when flowers are ready for pollination and when pollinators are active.  Plants that are pollinated by bees and flies will typically have sweet scents, and plants pollinated by beetles may have strong, musty, or fruity odours. Plant species that emit high scent levels during the day attract bees and butterflies, while those that emit high scent levels at night attract moths and bats.

Sources: The US Forest Service and Scientific American  (click on these links to learn more about floral scents)

11. Who can I contact if I have an insect-related question?

The Department of Entomology at the University of Manitoba provides basic insect identification and insect information to Manitoba residents via the Bugline. Click here to learn more.

12. Does the City of Winnipeg offer any workshops to help home owners attract pollinators in their yard?

The City of Winnipeg's Living Prairie Museum hosts a variety of workshops and information sessions to help enhance native prairie habitat in an urban setting.  Click here to learn more.

13. How can I get involved to help enhance pollinator habitat at work, school and/or in my community?

Check out the "Get Involved" tab located in the main menu at the top of the page.

14. Is there a brochure summarizing information about pollinators in Manitoba and what I can do to help?

Yes. The Living Prairie Museum is not only a great place to see pollinator-friendly gardens, but also provides brochures supporting native insect pollinators in Manitoba. Click here to view one of their brochures.