May 5, 2011 10:29 am
By John Voket, RISMedia Columnist
RISMEDIA, May 5, 2011-Your RIS Consumer Confidant learned an important lesson recently from the folks at the US Forest service about pollinators. Without these important little insect cogs in our ecosystem, our world would be very different, because very few of the plants that grow for food or beauty would ever become pollinated.
So the Forest Service is calling on property owners to consider creating a destination for pollinators in your yard this year. To create a pollinator-friendly landscape around your home or workplace, use a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall.
Help pollinators find and use these plants by placing in clumps, rather than in single locations. Include plants native to your region. Natives are adapted to your local climate, soil and native pollinators. Do not forget that night-blooming flowers will support moths and bats.
If you want colorful butterflies, grow plants for their caterpillars. They will eat them, so place them where unsightly leaf damage can be tolerated. Accept that some host plants are less than ornamental if not outright weeds. A butterfly guide will help you determine the plants you need to include. Plant a butterfly garden!
By leaving dead trees, or at least an occasional dead limb, you provide essential nesting sites for native bees. Make sure these are not a safety hazard for people walking below. You can also build a bee condo by drilling holes of varying diameter about 3 to 5 inches deep in a piece of scrap lumber mounted to a post or under eaves.
Butterflies are attracted to unsavory things, such as moist animal droppings, urine and rotting fruits. Try putting out slices of overripe bananas, oranges and other fruits; or a sponge in a dish of lightly salted water to see which butterflies come to investigate. Sea salt provides a broader range of micronutrients than regular table salt.
And most importantly-eliminate pesticides whenever possible. If you must use a pesticide, use the least-toxic material possible. Read labels carefully before purchasing, as many pesticides are especially dangerous for bees. Use the product properly. Spray at night when bees and other pollinators are not active.
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