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Pollinators, Why We Need Them
June 21, 2010

American Indian Headdress from Last Week's Pow Wow.

June 21st, welcome to the first day of summer.

I colored things up a bit more today just for summer, I hope it still looks and reads okay to you.

Is this year flying by or what?

Weather continues to dominate much of the news and our prayers continue to all in need.

On a hot humid day this past week I noticed this rabbit flopped out under a shade tree.

Even the animals will take it easy in the heat of the day.

Every year I am asked about the birds and the heat or the lack of them when it gets hot outside.

Birds have a higher body temperature averaging about 105 degrees on average, so birds don't over heat as quick as we do.

Sometimes you will witness birds panting or possibly spread to allow excess body heat to escape.

A birds lungs are created to allow excess heat to escape through breathing.

Birds also have another helper.

The same scaly legs and feet that slow down blood flow in the winter to retain heat, increase in blood flow during the summer to release heat.

And, like you and me..................

Many birds will escape to shade and slow down during the heat and a fresh bath or shower is always welcome.

Many birds also are feasting on insects and fruits now instead of feeders.

(All the more to Garden for Wildlife.)

For birds that refuse to visit a bird bath or shallow watering hole, you can provide a mister or run the sprinkler on some shrubs and trees for a time.

Many birds will enjoy rubbing up to the wet leaves, including hummingbirds.

This technique is called leafing, if you can imagine that.

On a hot humid day this past week I noticed this rabbit flopped out under a shade tree.

Even the animals will take it easy in the heat of the day.

Snapping turtles have laid their eggs a couple weeks ago, and if the nests aren't raided by raccoons or some other predator, the eggs will hatch in 60 to 80 days on average.

Now, eggs in more northern regions actually winter over and hatch in the spring.

Like crocodiles, turtle gender is dictated on the warmth of the nesting sight.

These nests are 100 feet or so from water, but snappers will travel up to a quarter of a mile to find a nesting location.

I am adding a picture of a snapper busy last year and a photo of Keet checking out a nest that was part of a raiding party.

Nature never rests.

Snapper eggs are about the size of a ping pong ball with shells that are rubbery or leathery.

Like so many things in the natural world, very few turtles make it to adulthood.

Besides the egg thieves, turtles have to make it to water and they have to dodge animals and now birds as well.

Thank You Everyone for you Fathers Day wishes.

It was a wonderful day for me and my family.

My Fathers Day gift is a couple of Days with my girls up north.

Yes, to the Big Mac, Soo Locks and a bit of rest. (Karen gets her shopping in too.

Yolanda wont remember the trip, but pictures will be taken to help her.

We are leaving Tuesday and we will be back home later in the week.

We need a couple of days off and this is something we can do that involves Yolanda as well.

Not to worry, Our older daughter will care for the fur kids and other needs.

Any e-mail I will get to later in the week.

All pollinators are important to us.

This week, I make mention of our important allies.

Here is to all of our pollinating friends.


National Pollinator Week is June 21-27, 2010

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 and vegetables.

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 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 for them.

Biologists, ecologists 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 every day and natural land every day.

And 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.

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 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.

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 "doubles" that provide little or no pollen and nectar.

Choose non-chemical solutions to insect problems.

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

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 and 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.


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.

(Mason bees)

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 leafcutter 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 Rosco, it is time to fly for now.

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

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

I don't know Rosco.

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.

Are you alive?

Can you get out of bed?

Say thank you Lord for another day.

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


What is today filled with that we ignore or may pass us by while we are looking for that golden moment.

We may waste a lifetime waiting and life's miracles and special moments pass us by and we wonder where time went.

Cherish everyday and every my friend.

Sure tomorrow may never come, but life and living is all around you every moment of everyday.

God can make good out of anything.

You are blessed, just be sure to live for today as you dream and plan for tomorrow.

Now, share one of your many blessings with others.

That blessing is your smile.

What a wonderful gift to share.

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


Until next time my friend.

God Bless.

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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