Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Preparing Pollinator Habitat

It is important to preserve both honey bees and native pollinators for us to continue to have abundant food, productive agriculture, healthy wildlife, and a diversity of plants and animals in the environment. While the honey bee performs the largest share of the pollination of commercial crops, the native pollinators also contribute by supplementing and filling in on the pollination requirements of flowers and crops. All of the vital pollinators need food and habitat to flourish. Urbanization that removes natural vegetation, the use of monoculture farming practices, and the widespread use of herbicides have removed much of the food supplies and habitat of the pollinators. The excessive use of insecticides and pesticides have reduced the numbers of insect pollinators and weakened many of the surviving insects.

We can help to provide for the pollinators by being aware that they need food, water, habitat, and places to breed and develop their offspring. Many of the pollinators have specific food and protected habitat requirements for their developing offspring. We can rapidly increase the pollinators in our lawns, gardens, orchards, and farms by leaving margins of “weedy,” un-mowed ground, water sources, plants, like milkweed, for larvae to feed upon, and nesting places. Blue orchard bees, or mason bees, are one of the easily attracted and highly effective native pollinators in North America. In the winter, when our honey bee activity is at a minimum, we prepare nesting areas for blue orchard bees, bumble bees, and other solitary bees. Blue orchard bees lay their eggs in holes in wood drilled by beetles or in the hollow stems of plants with pithy centers. Nesting tubes may be fashioned from bamboo canes or by drilling holes in untreated wood or dead trees. In the picture, Rita is drilling 5/16 inch holes in the trunk of a cottonwood tree that was struck by lightning. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has a new fact sheet for building and maintaining nest sites for tunnel nesting bees at

1 comment:

  1. Have a nice wörk,I wish happy ,healty and succesuful years,regards.