Friday, March 2, 2012

Plant a Row for the Pollinators

Everyone knows that honey bees pollinate crops and make delicious honey. Many also know the honey bee is in big trouble. They are suffering from something called Colony Collapse Disorder. Basically, beekeepers are losing their colonies, but there isn't yet a smoking gun.

It also turns out that bees native to the United States (the honey bee was introduced from Europe) are also in trouble.This is due in part to habitat loss and competition from honey bees.

There are over 4,000 bees native to the U.S. They come in various sizes and colors, and are either social and create colonies like the honey bee, or solitary- creating a nest singly. Some nest in the ground, some in hollowed out twigs, or wood. The great thing about many of the native bees is they frequently provide pollination services in weather or at times of the day and year that the honey bee doesn't.

This spring, why not plant a row for the native pollinators? 

photo by Matthew Elswick
In the Pacific Northwest, there are many bees like the mason bee, leafcutter bee, carpenter bee and the bumble bee that would love to pollinate your crops. Here are some flowers you can plant to attract them to your garden, so you can encourage them to visit when you need them:

balsam root

Before I forget, there is one more thing you should do for them. Give them some fresh water! (and make sure they can't drown). Happy planting!

1 comment:

  1. Ni i i i i i i i i i ce! If this catches on it could be the start of habitat and resource corridors for our little friends who give us all our food except for cereal grain.