October Snow

Snow came to the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat overnight. It is a reminder that seasons change and winter is on its way. The trees are getting their fall color and the native grasses are beautiful with their tall seed head plumes. Milkweed pods are popping open and releasing their seeds and silky fluff. Nebraska is gorgeous in the fall.

MJ Frogge

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Asters Blooming

Asters are blooming in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Asters are hardy perennials that bloom late summer until the first hard frost. Many asters are native to Nebraska and are a late-season source of pollen for bees, migrating monarchs and other pollinators.

Asters native to Nebraska include:

Smooth aster – 2-4 feet tall with purple flowers

Prairie aster – 3-4 feet tall with lavender flowers

Heath aster – 1-3 feet tall with white flowers

New England aster – 3-5 feet tall with pink, red-violet, purple or blue flowers

Asters are easy to grow and look great in a mass planting. They can be planted with other native plants like purple coneflower, coreopsis, black-eyed Susan and native grasses.

The main plant disease is powdery mildew, it causes a whitish growth that appears on leaves. To reduce the chance of this disease, make sure asters are in full sun and plants are not crowded.

MJ Frogge

Praying Mantis

The past few days I have notice many Chinese praying mantis in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. They blend in well with the foliage and can go unnoticed unless disturbed.

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The praying mantis is an easy insect to recognize. They have a long narrow body, small triangular head with two large compound eyes. They also have impressive, large front legs to grab their prey.

Chinese mantis have a body length of 3 to 4.5 inches. The Carolina mantis is smaller, 1.5 to 2.5 inches in length.

Check out your habitat to see if you have both mantis living there. They are fun to watch.

MJ Frogge

 

Blooming in July

The Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat is full of bees and butterflies this month. We are seeing many native plants blooming in July:  Rosinweed, Illinois bundleflower, swamp milkweed, wild bergamot, purple coneflower, hoary vervain, and chicory. It is wonderful to have a diverse selection of plants in our pollinator habitat.

MJ Frogge

Blooming in June

We are seeing so many great native plants blooming in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat in June. Bee balm, purple poppy mallow, butterfly milkweed, common milkweed,  prairie fleabane and common yarrow. It is important to have a diverse selection of plants for a pollinator habitat.

MJ Frogge

Celebrate Pollinator Week

There are many ways you can help pollinators:

1. Plant Native Plants. Native flora provides native pollinators with food in the form of pollen and nectar. Select plants that have a long bloom time. Also grow a wide selection of plants so you have plants blooming April through October.
2. Let your yard get a little messy. Leave unhazardous snags for nesting places and stack down tree limbs to create a brush pile, which is a great source of cover for pollinators.
3. Create or protect water sources. Bees need water to drink. Create a water feature with rocks for insects to land. Be sure to keep birdbaths clean and change the water three times per week when mosquitoes are breeding.
4. Limit or eliminate pesticide use. By using fewer or no chemicals in the landscape you will help keep pollinator populations healthy.
5. Identify non-native invasive plants. Work to remove them from your yard. Do not bring any new invasive plants into your habitat. Invasive plants do not provide as much quality food or habitat as native plants do and can threaten healthy ecosystems.

MJ Frogge

Pollinator Week 2019!

Happy Pollinator Week! Today in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat the leaf cutter bees are very active.  I can see where they have visited a seedling ash tree.  Each disc of leaf that is clipped will become part of a cell that houses an individual leaf cutter bee egg. One of my favorite things to do is to check the bee house each week to see how may drilled blocks have been filled.

This NebGuide will help you make one for your habitat:

http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/g2256.pdf

MJ Frogge

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Solitary Bee House

Earlier this month Soni replaced blocks on the top shelf of the solitary bee house in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. We are eagerly awaiting the leafcutter bees who nest in these blocks. Here is a great fact sheet about leafcutter bees put together by Dr. Jonathan Larson at Nebraska Extension at Douglas/Sarpy counties: https://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/Getting%20to%20Know%20Leafcutter%20Bees.pdf

MJ Frogge

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