It is Pollinator Week!

Happy National Pollinator Week!  There are many ways to celebrate pollinator week:

1. Plant Native Plants. Native plants 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 tree limbs to create a brush pile, which is a great source of cover for pollinators. Build an insect hotel or bee house in your landscape.
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.

If you live in Lincoln, attend this event:

Pollinator Power Event

Tuesday, June 21st 2016 (5:30 – 7:30 PM)

At UNL East Campus, Lincoln NE

Entomology & Agronomy and Horticulture Departments’ Pollinator Garden

Directions: On UNL East Campus

Take Fair Street North of the College of Law Building.

Follow gravel road back towards 48th and Holdrege, park where directed.

Kids activities
Pollinator demonstration, garden tours
Learn about pollinator-friendly plants, honey bees, wild bees, Monarch butterflies and more…

MJ

 

Are You Working on Your Native Bee Nest Boxes?

Bee Nest Box Structure - Bee Hotel

Bee Nest Box for the Cherry Creek Habitat

Now’s a great time to be working on your native bee nesting blocks and insect hotels. Make your structures simple or complex, basic or creative. The native bees won’t care – you’ll just want to provide a variety of hole sizes in the blocks or tubes you provide.

Check out Attracting Pollinators to Your Landscape. This resource also includes directions on how to make native bee nesting blocks. Once you’ve made your nesting blocks/structures, you can set those out in your landscape this spring.

Speaking of spring…It won’t be long and we’ll start to see “spring” in the Cherry Creek Habitat. You can enjoy the seasons with us on the live cam. The native bee nesting box structure and insect hotel are on the north side of the habitat – near the back of the camera view. Enjoy – watch live here.

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

More Bee Hotels Popping Up in Lincoln

Bee Nest Box Structure - Bee Hotel

Bee Nest Box for the Cherry Creek Habitat

The Daily Nebraskan is a student newspaper at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Today the paper featured a story about “bee hotels” on East Campus and an upcoming UNL Publication – NebGuide to encourage folks to build their own.

We’re excited everyone is promoting the preservation of native bees!

Here is a link to the article in the Daily Nebraskan – “Hoping to preserve bee populations, UNL opens bee hotels”

When the NebGuide is finished, we’ll be sure to post a link. In the meantime, we have a resource for you to help get you started “Attracting Pollinators to Your Landscape“. It includes information on making bee nest boxes.

And don’t forget the bumble bees! Here is a link to build your own bumble bee domicile from the UNL Bumble Boosters.

Here’s to sharing the buzz!

Soni

UNL Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

 

Clean Up Day!

Clean Up Day at Cherry Creek

MJ picking up trash along the creek. Great to get it cleaned up!

Today was clean up day out at the Cherry Creek habitat. Wow! Beautiful weather… finally!!

We picked up a lot of trash from the creek and cut out a mess of wild grape vines that were entangling the cattails. The grape vines were added to a new wildlife brush pile. In addition to finding some nice raccoon scat, MJ found a $5 bill down in the creek! Who says it doesn’t pay to do a clean up!

To see more photos of the Cherry Creek Habitat, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/unlextlanco/collections/72157633474612381/

So what’s new at the habitat? We have plants coming up (exciting!) and apparently, the habitat was a “stomping ground” for several deer recently. Good thing most of our plants aren’t up yet or they would’ve been salad for the deer! The native bee habitat will be moved outside soon after we add a small roof.

I hope you are all gathering up your scrap lumber, planning your insect/wildlife structures and thinking about plants and practices to benefit our native pollinators!

Here’s to sharing the buzz!

Soni

UNL Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

Landscaping for Pollinators – Nebraska Statewide Arboretum

Insect hotel in pollinator habitat.

Insect hotel in pollinator habitat.

Our friend and colleague, Kendall Weyers from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, recently wrote a nice article on landscaping with pollinators….Thanks Kendall!

Kendall – “Mention pollinators in the landscape, and the first thought of most homeowners is the butterfly. Everyone loves to see this beautiful creature floating on a summer breeze, and some gardeners select plants specifically for them.”

“Yet it is important to remember there is a long list of pollinators beyond butterflies. A wide range of bees, beetles, moths, flies, ants, birds and even bats all play an important role in pollination. Unfortunately these roles and their effectiveness have diminished in our highly fragmented or entirely altered native ecosystems. Weather changes, heavy use of non-native plants and pesticide use also have contributed to the decline of pollinators.”

Be sure to visit the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum Web site and blog for more information on pollinators, plants and our landscapes. http://arboretum.unl.edu/

Enjoy!

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

UNL Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

Planning Your Garden & Pollinator-friendly Habitat

Rain barrel donated to our habitat project.

Rain barrel donated to our habitat project.

Some resources you may enjoy as you plan for spring! Be sure to include pollinator-friendly practices and habitats in your landscape plan:

What you can do right now! Now’s the time to start planning your insect and native bee habitat and nesting structures. We have some photos on the blog to help give you some ideas. From the February 2013 NEBLINE Newsletter (free) Attracting Pollinators to Your Landscape (includes directions to make a native bee nesting block) and Biology of Native Bee Pollinators. Grab those scrap pieces of lumber and start drilling!

Are your seeds OK? Have you been saving seeds for your garden? There’s a simple experiment to see if your seeds are still good.  http://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/articles/2004/seedsaving.shtml

Need inspiration? Take a look at these photos from Benjamin Vogt. Vogt lives in Lincoln and has a 2,000 sq ft native prairie garden. It is absolutely beautiful. Here he documents his prairie garden through the year (with some other photos thrown in!) Enjoy The| Deep| Middle – Living and Writing in the Prairie Echo

Reading suggestions to help get you through this cold winter – from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s blog “Beneficial Landscapes: the plants, wildlife, soil and water for our gardens” http://beneficiallandscapes.blogspot.com/

Add a Rain barrel – Try Harvesting Rainwater: We have a rain barrel for the Cherry Creek Habitat. Of course, it isn’t big enough to catch all the water run off – but it has been handy when we want to water specific plants. Consider adding a rain barrel and try other rainwater harvesting techniques this year! To help – UNL Extension has a brand new NebGuide. It provides information on how to use, install and collect rainwater. Rain barrels can be purchased or made. This publication is on-line and you can access it free! http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=1612

Just announced! 2014 Artistic Rain Barrel Program: Prairie Theme! The Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center and the City of Lincoln Watershed Management Division are collaborating on a project to educate the community on the benefits of using rain barrels to reduce rainwater runoff and improve water quality. Local artists are invited to paint prairie themed designs on a rain barrel to celebrate the role prairies play in filtering stormwater runoff. The deadline to apply to participate is February 7, 2014http://lincoln.ne.gov/city/pworks/watrshed/educate/barrel/artist/

Landscape Sustainability:  Sustainable landscapes describes landscapes supporting environmental quality and conservation of natural resources. For many people, a sustainable landscape is hard to understand or visualize. Other terms such as xeriscape, native landscape, and environmentally friendly landscape have been used interchangeably to describe sustainable landscapes.A well-designed sustainable landscape reflects a high level of self-sufficiency. Once established, it should grow and mature virtually on its own — as if nature had planted it. This UNL Extension publication is available on-line free http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=203

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

UNL Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

Winter has come to the Habitat

Insect hotel in pollinator habitat.

Insect hotel in pollinator habitat.

Close up view of insect hotel.

Close up view of insect hotel.

Winter is here. This fall we built our insect hotel and filled it with natural materials that we collected. It takes alot to fill an insect hotel of this size.  We collected pine cones, logs, twigs and carefully filled each layer of the hotel.  Rolled corrugated cardboard and egg cartons are nice hiding places for insects.  Beneficial insects like lady bugs and lacewing over winter as adults so they need a place to spend winter months. Hollow stems like bamboo and blocks of wood with drilled holes are for solitary bees to nest. We are so excited for spring. I can’t wait for our plants & seeds to grow and see who moves into the insect hotel. We have much more to do next year, but for now we will enjoy the snow.

MJ

Insect hotel in November before snow.

Insect hotel in November before snow.