Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pollinator WeeK: June 18 --24

A tiger swallowtail on goldenrod in a
natural meadow.
The US Senate unanimously approved the motion to designate the last week in June as pollinator week. Who says the Senate can't agree on anything? In the past five years the pollinator week celebration has become an international event. This year it's June 18--24.

Much of the focus of pollinator week is on our food supply.  Every third bite of food we eat depends upon pollinators. But since 2006, the colony collapse disorder of the European honeybees has alarmed the beekeeping experts. Honeybees have been used as pollinators for hire. Beekeepers move their hives into an area where a large crop (often a monoculture) awaits pollinators in order for fruit to be formed. For example, a female squash flower, needs to be visited eight to ten times by bees or wasps that have also visited the male flowers for a fruit to form.

The Pollinator Partnership is the sponsoring agency for the pollinator week. They encourage you to "Invite pollinators to your neighborhood by planting a pollinator friendly habitat in your garden, farm, school, park or just about anywhere!" They provide many resources including posters of pollinators and guidelines and suggested plants to use in your landscape. Note: these are quite broad and most of Florida is included in the Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province, (an 11 MB pdf file) with a range from the Mid-Atlantic states to eastern Texas. You'll have the most success if you also use more local resources for native plants suggestions such as the FNPS website: www.fnps.org.

A carpenter bee on a native passionvine. The passionvine (Passiflora incarnata) supplies nectar and also larval food for several butterflies. To purchase some for your yard see: FANN website for sources.

Read more of this post over on the Florida Native Plant Society blog...

Green gardening matters,
Ginny Stibolt

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