Nature doesn’t clean up, so why should you?
You may see a lot of memes going around this time of year telling you to wait until temperatures consistently reach 50 degrees before going out and cleaning up your yard. This is meant to be for the benefit of overwintering pollinators who may still be hiding out in dead organic material. While well-intentioned, this information is incorrect and misleading.
Most insects are specialists, meaning they will emerge at the same time the plant which they pollinate begins to bloom - and this happens over a very wide range of temperatures and long period of time. Many types of bees find shelter and lay eggs in hollow dead stems from last year’s flowers, so removing this material can disturb the beneficial insects in your garden as well. The answer is: leave everything where it’s at! Unless you need to clear some organic material for light to reach the ground and help with seed germination, or you want to remove some diseased material to help prevent reinfection, you can really just let nature take its course. Don’t clean up just for the sake of cleaning up.
If you want to help even more, consider adding a bee house to your garden, like the one pictured below. Species like Mason bees will find it, love it, and move right in!