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June 26, 2017

How was your past week?

(This big toad sits in a little flower pot on our deck. A couple of toads seem to call the deck home as they frequent it often.)

Life gets so busy at times, that things often slip my mind.

Last week I was so exited to share the foxes with you I ignored other issues, even around here.

Last week, summer officially started and now the day light hours will slowly grow shorter :-(

I know, I'm being a downer.

I also forgot to mention that last week was 'National Pollinator Week'.

Karen, Yolanda, and I will be Up North (Traverse City area) from Tuesday thru Thursday this week.

And E-mails will be answered upon our return home.

I so enjoy it Up North, but it requires a lot of details when we bring Yolanda with us.

Yolanda pretty much lives in the now, she enjoys the trips and time with her parents, but wont remember a thing when we get home,

Sometimes she will recall certain things if we remind her.

I get a kick, watching her when she sees something for the first time, all over again.

The yard and feeders are a flurry of feathered activity (young and adults).

Little creatures like rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, and skunks visit as well.

As I mentioned above, last week was 'National Pollinator Week'.

This week I will touch on the importance of this work force and what you can do to help.



National Pollinator Week was last week (June 19-25)

(European Honey Bee)

It was 10 years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations.

Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.

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, and 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,

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

The list goes on.

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


Pollinators are the facilitators of reproduction.

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 apples, oranges and cucumbers.

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

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

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

(Red Admiral Butterfly.)

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

There are several 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 say they don't have the baseline data to show what has happened to most types of pollinators, however there is more, and strong evidence pointing towards the excessive use of toxic chemicals.

Chemicals like Neonicotinoids, very well can lead to colony collapse.

Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides that act on the nervous system of insects.

(Mason Bees)

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

That translates into a loss of habitat for pollinators.

Pollinating animals represent about 200,000 species worldwide.

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

When you are messing around in the flowerbed, or walking through a field, you become a pollinator.

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

There are specialty bees like Orchard Mason Bees.

There is even a specialized bee for pollinating pumpkins ans squash, called Squash Bees.

Pollinators of all kinds 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.

Pollinator Garden

Plant a Butterfly Garden.

You can help native pollinators, especially bees and butterflies, 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.

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.

Avoid horticultural plants, such as marigolds and roses, bred as "double Blooms".

As pretty as they are, they provide little or no pollen and nectar.

Even certain flies are pollinators.

(Adult Hoverflies pollinate and their larvae consume untold amounts of insects.)


Choose non-chemical solutions to insect problems.

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 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.

Hummingbirds are also primo pollinators.


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, 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.

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 day, or better tomorrow, as much as it is that we may ignore today and what it brings us or can offer to us.

Are you alive?

Can you get out of bed?

Say thank you Lord for another day.

Come on normal day, let's enjoy some life, living, sharing and giving.

"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.

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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