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Tag Archive | "bees"

Native bees


Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Various bee species have adaptations that serve them well for gathering pollen and nectar from various plants that serve our needs. Most people know something about the honeybees that are important to our agriculture industry. Native bees are also vitally important to nature niche plant and animal communities. The term native bees is used to specify species native to the Great Lakes region and our continent as opposed to the non-native honey bees that were brought to North America to aid agriculture.

It is not only the honeybee that is facing survival challenges. The economic value of bees is worth billions of dollars. They are insects important to our health, wealth, and survival. Native bees have declined for many reasons. They have fascinating life histories and are beautiful insects. Some are fuzzy with yellow, red, and black “hairs” covering their bodies. Others have a bright green exoskeleton or more obscure black bodies.

Look closely at what is visiting flowers in gardens or wild patches in yards. Don’t miss the pageant of activity right outside your home. Come learn about native bees at a free presentation hosted by the WILD Ones.

The River City WILD Ones is a native plant group that offers field trips and programs encouraging people to landscape yards with native plants that strengthen and maintain the health and wealth of the local landscape around our homes, neighborhoods, and community. To celebrate the organizations tenth year, they are hosting a community event for free on September 18, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the Calvin College Fine Arts Center, 1795 Knollcrest Circle SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Park in Lot 9, 10, or 11. Enter off the East Beltline near the pedestrian overpass walkway. The Fine Arts Center is east of the E. Beltline.

WILD Ones write: The keynote speaker is Minnesotan Heather Holm a horticulturist and biologist, as well as a writer, designer, and publisher. In addition to taking part in native bee research projects, she informs and educates audiences nationwide, through her writing and many presentations, about the fascinating world of native bees and the native plants that support them. In her most recent research project, she assisted University of Minnesota Extension faculty in a two-year study to determine the types of native bees present in cultivated blueberry farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The study included developing customized plans to enhance and expand both forage crops and nesting sites for bees within the farms.

Heather has written for Houzz, a social media website, about pollinators, beneficial insects, and native plants. Her first book, Pollinators of Native Plants, published in 2014, established her as a knowledgeable resource on the subject of the interactions between native bees and native plants. Her new book is titled Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide. Both books will available for purchase at the event. 

WILD Ones invites the public to attend and would like people to register at the website: https://rcwo-10th-anniversary.eventbrite.com before attending.

Please beeline to the event. It will be enjoyable meeting and visiting with nature niche readers. To make it easy to find me, I will be wearing my ranger uniform.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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A boost for Michigan bees and butterflies


OUT-Boost-bees-and-butterflies

Mary Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection

Federal dollars are flowing into Michigan to help bee and butterfly species struggling to thrive.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded Michigan and Wisconsin $500,000 from the service’s competitive State Wildlife Grants program to restore 850 acres of habitat.

Jim Hodgson, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional chief of the Midwest Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs, says the hope is to prevent troubled pollinators from becoming endangered.

“These species are very dependent on grassland habitats, and we’re seeing a decline in those types of habitats and because of that these types of species of butterflies and bees are losing their homes,” he explains.

Targeted species include two bumblebee species, the petitioned monarch butterfly and the endangered Karner blue butterfly.

Hodgson says prescribed fires, invasive plant control and seeding are among the strategies that will be used to increase the number of host plants.

Michigan expects to restore 600 acres of habitat, and Wisconsin more than 250 acres.

Hodgson notes the Wildlife Service will monitor the outcomes to determine the most effective methods for pollinator conservation.

“Once the habitat is restored, the plan is to start seeing at least localized improvement in the species in those particular areas, and hopefully it will start expanding into other parts and areas of the Midwest as other projects are undertaken,” he explains.

The competitive State Wildlife Grants program awarded a total of $2.2 million to five Midwest states for conservation efforts.

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BEE One in a Million


BLOOM-Bee-one-in-a-millon

BLOOM-Bee-one-in-a-million-logoResidents have a chance to become part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC), a nationwide call to action to create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America.

The challenge was launched by The National Pollinator Garden Network, which collectively represents nearly one million active gardeners and 15,000 schoolyard gardens. The Network is challenging the nation to reach the goal of one million additional pollinator gardens by the end of 2016. The Network will work to provide resources for individuals, community groups, government agencies and the garden industry to create more pollinator habitat through sustainable gardening practices and conservation efforts.

They hope to move millions of individuals, kids and families outdoors and make a connection between pollinators and the healthy food people eat.

Any individual can contribute by planting for pollinators and joining this effort to provide a million pollinator gardens across the United States. Every habitat of every size counts, from window boxes and garden plots to farm borders, golf courses, school gardens, corporate and university campuses. Everywhere we live, work, play and worship can, with small improvements, offer essential food and shelter for pollinators.

“If we all work together—individuals, communities, farmers, land managers, and local, state, and federal agencies—we can ensure that every American child has a chance to enjoy the beauty of creatures like bees, monarch butterflies, and hummingbirds,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife

Federation. “By joining forces with the National Pollinator Garden Network on the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, the National Wildlife Federation and our affiliates are amplifying these collective efforts to address the growing threats affecting so much of America’s treasured wildlife.”

Pollinators Gardens should do the following:

• use plants that provide nectar and pollen sources

• provide a water source

• be situated in sunny areas with wind breaks

• create large “pollinator targets” of native or non-invasive plants

• establish continuous bloom throughout the growing season

• eliminate or minimize the impact of pesticides.

Learn more at www.millionpollinatorgardens.org and join the discussion on Twitter through the hashtag #PolliNation.

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Ten ways to help bees and butterflies thrive


 

You can help bees and butterflies thrive by creating natural habitats.

You can help bees and butterflies thrive by creating natural habitats.

(NAPS)—Here’s news that’s created a buzz. Three-quarters of the world’s flowering plants and food crops rely on pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies to help them reproduce.

Unfortunately, bee populations are being threatened by a range of issues, such as colony collapse disorder, pesticides, mites, disease and climate change. Butterfly populations are also at risk.

The good news is that gardeners can help restore balance by creating habitats that encourage pollinators to thrive.

Bees and butterflies need places to live and breed in, and food to eat. The plants that provide this food also need pollinators to help them reproduce, so planting gardens that are friendly to bees and butterflies is a win-win situation.

Pollination occurs naturally as small creatures forage for food, carrying pollen from plant to plant as they go. That is why it’s important to offer them a “buffet” of attractive flowers throughout the seasons, and to have sufficient natural habitats so that they don’t have to travel far to find what they need.

Here are 10 easy ways to help:

1) BEE friendly to bees! Honeybees are not aggressive; they sting only as a defense mechanism.

2) Plant trees, shrubs and flowering plants to increase food and shelter for bees and butterflies.

3) Create a seasonal buffet for pollinators by planting perennial flowers with a mix of colors, shapes and scents in containers, window boxes and plant beds.

4) Choose perennials with simple, single rather than double flowers to make nectar and pollen more accessible to bees and butterflies.

5) Cut and use garden flowers for bouquets to encourage re-blooming and to prolong the foraging window for pollinators.

6) Use beautiful native plants such as echinacea, coreopsis, sunflowers and butterfly milkweed for at least 75 percent of your garden.

7) Water, weed and fertilize soil appropriately to create a healthy garden that minimizes pests and diseases.

8) Provide clean water for insects in shallow bowls, birdbaths and ponds, or let fresh water drip over stones.

9) Imperfection is OK! Bees and butterflies may damage leaves and flowers while breeding and feeding. Create areas of natural habitat with old stumps, fallen branches and tall grass for nesting.

10) Help convert small parcels of land into community gardens and green spaces to create closely linked areas for bees and butterflies to visit.

Burpee offers a wide range of seeds and plants that are attractive to bees and butterflies. All of Burpee’s seeds are Non-GMO.

To learn more about protecting pollinators, visit the website www.burpee.com/pollinators or call Burpee at (800) 888-1447.

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