Thursday, March 07, 2013

Wild Pollinators

Some news and olds on wild pollinators:

The Economist has a short article entitled "Variety is the spice of life: Encouraging wild and diverse insects is the best way to pollinate crops". That's the conclusion of some Argentine researched published in Science. The varied shapes of native pollinators, which includes beetles, flies and butterflies in addition to bees, helps insure the pollen gets well distributed. Update: An additional study with similar result is mentioned in this Rutgers article.

The Xerces Society, which "protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat", has a list of guides for building nests for native pollinators (honeybees were introduced to America from Europe). I tend to think of native bees as perfectly capable of building their own nests, but this free download: "A first of its kind, step-by-step, full color guide for rearing and managing bumblebees, mason bees, leafcutter bees, and other honey bee alternatives.", may tell a different story.

Here's a 2011 post of mine--notes from a talk on native bees, hosted by DR Greenway, including the somewhat revelatory statistic that there are 400 species of native bees in New Jersey.

Typing "boneset" into the search box of this blog will yield many posts about the extraordinary diversity of pollinators that visit this native wildflower, which turns into a thriving insect metropolis in July and August.

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