HORTICULTURE — Pollinator Week: June 17–23

(Photo by Mary Jane Frogge, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County)
(Photo by Mary Jane Frogge, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County)

By Mary Jane Frogge, Extension Associate, Lancaster County

Pollinator Week is an international celebration of the valuable contribution provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles. The week of June 17–23 will spotlight an opportunity to learn about some amazing animals, the pollinators. Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat. In the United States, bees undertake the astounding task of pollinating over $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for crops such as almonds, blueberries, apples, peaches, tomatoes and squash. Beginning in 2006, pollinators started to decline rapidly in numbers. Participating in Pollinator Week can help save these important animals.

What you can do to help pollinators:
• Plant a pollinator garden using native plants to Nebraska and the Midwest.
• Consider certifying your habitat. Learn more about The Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification program and view the application at http://entomology.unl.edu/pollinator-habitat-certification.
• Avoid pesticides in your home landscape.
• Provide nesting sites, like bee houses or insect hotels, for pollinators.
• Provide a water source such as a bird bath, small pond or water feature.
• Learn more about the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat located at the Lancaster Extension Education Center by reading the blog, The Buzz at Cherry Creek, at https://buzzatcherrycreekunl.wordpress.com.
• Go to the Pollinator Partnership website at http://pollinator.org to learn more about pollinators.