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National Pollinator Week
June 17, 2019

Dads, I hope you had an enjoyable Fathers Day, I know I did.

(Fledged robin)

Moms, grand parents, uncles, aunts, brother, sisters, and foster parents, that have to fill the roll of dad.

My hat is off to you and a big thank you to all.

Raising a child starts at home, not school, not the village, Home.

You are home.

Weather is still in the forefront.

Things are still cool and more than enough rain here in Michigan.

Many farmers still haven't planted their crops, lets hope they all have crop insurance.

The official first day of summer is this week (June 21), and still only two 80+ degree days in my part of the world this spring.

All is well around here, Thank You Lord.

There seems to be a week, or month for just about everything these days.

This week however, recognizes some special creatures that surround us.


That's right, this week is 'National Pollinator Week'.


National Pollinator Week is June 17-23

How about that, a whole week to honor our pollinating work force.

Did you know that one out of every three bites of food you eat depends on pollinators?

Honeybees, bumble bees, other insects, birds and small mammals pollinate over 90% of the planet's flowering plants and one third of human food crops.

Can you imagine a Halloween without pumpkins?

Thanksgiving without cranberries?

Valentine's Day without chocolate?

No fresh peas or green beans.

No apples, peaches, cherries or other fruits and vegetables.

Tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons.

What about the hay that feeds our cattle?

What about the cotton used for clothing, bedding and other comfortable uses?

If it weren't for pollinators, that would be the case.

Pollinators are the Masters and Johnson of the plant world, the facilitators of reproduction (this is not my line, I'm not smart enough to come up with it).

They assist in the fertilization of many plants by carrying pollen from the anther (male) of one blossom to the stigma (female) of another.

That allows the plants to produce fruiting bodies containing the seeds that eventually become new plants, fruiting bodies that we know as things such as oak trees, oranges, and cucumbers.

Hoverflies are great pollinators as adults and great predatory insect in the larval stage.

Pollinators play a crucial role in feeding us, beautifying our world and enabling a host of other benefits that plants provide.

And now, it's time for us to look out for them.

Biologists, ecologists, naturalists, and others who pay attention to the workings of the natural world worry that pollinators could be in danger.

Habitat destruction, pesticide use and other human-driven forces are among the potential threats to pollinator populations.

Some cases of pollinators dying off in large numbers have been well-documented — perhaps most notably, the loss of honeybees to the mysterious colony collapse disorder.

Scientists don't have the baseline data to show what has happened to most types of pollinators.

Instead, fears about their well-being are based more on evidence, including declines in sightings of some species and the effects on plants.

We do know that we're losing farmland, and natural land every day.

And that translates into a loss of habitat for pollinators.

(Eastern Tiger Swallowtail)

Pollinating animals represent about 200,000 species worldwide.

Most are insects, but they also include some birds and even mammals and reptiles.

Bees are the pollinating champs, but in our area butterflies, moths, beetles, flies and birds also contribute significantly.

They visit plants in search of either nectar, a source of carbohydrates, or pollen, which supplies protein.

In the process, they pick up pollen grains — often on hairs — and carry them to the next plant.

Plant a garden, and you can help native pollinators, especially bees, by planting a pollinator-friendly garden.

Maximize flower space and plant species diversity.

Provide a succession of blooming plants throughout the growing season, spring through fall.

(Orchard Mason Bees)

Mason Bees out work honeybees, and are non threatening.

Provide a mix of flower shapes to accommodate different species.

Emphasize native perennial plants.

Plant host plants to feed caterpillars as well as nectar plants for adult butterflies, you need caterpillars to get the butterflies.

Minimize horticultural plants, such as marigolds and roses, bred as "doubles" that provide little or no pollen and nectar.

Choose non-chemical solutions to insect problems, birds and predator insects will do the job if you let them.

(Hummingbird Moth)

Avoid using herbicides.

Provide nesting habitat for bees, such as bare ground for digger and sweat bees and wood and dried plant stems for leaf cutter and carpenter bees.

Offer nesting sights for Mason Orchard bees.

Welcome Hoverflies as well.

Practice peaceful coexistence.

Bees sometimes choose to nest in inconvenient places.

Rather than exterminating them, think of it as an opportunity to see and learn about them up close.

Most bees are non aggressive and will leave you alone, if you leave them alone.


Honey Bees Get the Headlines.

While timing application to avoid flowering periods or diurnal activity periods may reduce the impacts of pesticides to many pollinators, some pollinators, such as Normia bees that rest in crop fields overnight.

These bees may be harmed by nighttime application of pesticides.

Similarly, moths that are active at night may be harmed by nighttime application of pesticides.

Regardless of application time, if toxins remain on plant parts, pollinators such as leaf-cutter bees still may be harmed if they bring contaminated leaves back to their nest .

Likewise, the larvae of butterflies that pollinate plants may be harmed by ingesting toxins remaining on plant parts.

Remember, it is all part of nature, and a few leaf holes are needed if we want to eat.

This is National Pollinator Week.

Take time to enjoy, and maybe thank these busy creatures for the job they do, for all the planet.

Well it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are... Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in my pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return".

Mary Jean Iron

It isn't always a quest for a perfect or better tomorrow, as much as it is that we ignore today and what it brings us or can offer to us.

Say thank you Lord for another day.

It may be human nature or a taught greed to always want more or something better.

From God's word.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they"?

Matthew 6:26

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

A Blessed week to you .

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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