Happy Pollinator Week! Leafcutter bees are active in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Leafcutter bees are important pollinators and are members of the family Megachilidae. I added new blocks and paper straws for leafcutter bees in the solitary bee house. You know you have leafcutter bees in your landscape when you see the discs of leaves that are snipped from nearby plants. The damage is very minimal and will not harm the plants. Leafcutter bees are not aggressive, so you can safely be close and watch them work.
To make a solitary bee house, check out this NebGuide: https://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/g2256.pdf
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The month of May has been very pleasant and perfect planting weather. You still have time to plant and I recommend planting herbs. Herbs are great for us to eat and also for many of our favorite butterfly caterpillars. Dill and parsley are important food sources for swallowtail caterpillars. I planted dill seed several weeks ago and it is coming up nicely. You still have time to plant the seed.
Plant herbs that have flowers beneficial to butterflies and bees. Consider planting basil, oregano, sage and thyme. I hope to get my basil plants in the ground later today before we get another nice rain tomorrow.
Hope your pollinator habitat is off to a good start this year and you are enjoying it as much as the pollinators and wildlife will.
BEE safe, MJ Frogge
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
Snowdrops are blooming in my home habitat. It is one of my favorite plants. We have had snow and ice, but snowdrops can handle this type of weather. This stunning and tough little flower benefits pollinators. If the temperature is above 45 degrees F when it is blooming, you will find honey bees visiting these delightful flowers.
Other spring flowering bulbs that benefit pollinators include Scilla, Glory-of-the-Snow and Crocus. Consider planting these bulbs this fall in your pollinator habitat.
Last week I planted spring flowering bulbs in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. I planted crocus, glory-of-the-snow and grape hyacinth. These spring bulbs are beneficial to early pollinators like honey bees and some native bees. Many of these pollinators are out early in the spring and need these early blooming plants. Spring bulbs are an easy addition to your habitat and you can still plant them, but do it soon! Other bulbs include snowdrops (my favorite), winter aconite, daffodil, fritillaria and Siberian squill.
Fall is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs. These plants are the first bloomers in the spring. They are important for pollinators that are out early looking for flowers. Plant bulbs in groups so you will have a mass of flowers come springtime.
Snow drops are the first bulbs to bloom in the spring. In February and March, if the temperature is over 40 degrees F, you will find honeybees out on snow drop flowers.
Bees also can be found on crocus.
Glory-of-the-snow is a beautiful little bulb that comes in blue, pink and white.
Grape hyacinth is bulb that will spread and multiple over the years.
Hope you will consider adding spring bulbs to your pollinator habitat. They will be a wonderful addition to your garden and beneficial to the early spring pollinators.