Save the Bees!
June 22–28 has been designated National Pollinator Week, a time to learn more about the important role of pollinators in our world and to discover ways to protect them. Bees are the most productive, but flies, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths and bats are also pollinators. Together they help about 75% of all flowering plants move pollen necessary for fertilization, including plants that bear some of our favorite fruits, vegetables and nuts. Unfortunately, pesticides, habitat loss, pollution and other factors have put our pollinators at serious risk.
Experts are sounding the alarm because normal bee decline over a typical winter would fall in the range of five to 10 percent and maybe 15 to 20 percent in a bad year. However, recent winter decline losses have reached 30 to 50 percent in the U.S. And hive totals fell from 6 million in 1947 to 2.4 in 2008, which means we now have less than half the bee population we once had.
This rapid decline matters for a myriad of reasons, but topping the list is the fact that approximately one-third of all our food and beverages rely on the work of bees and other pollinators. Without them, foods like apples, strawberries, blueberries, chocolate, melons, peaches, figs, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash and almonds, among many others, would disappear from grocery stores.
You Can Help
- Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides in your lawn and garden
- Increase green spaces
- Plant pollinator-friendly plants to provide nectar, pollen and homes for pollinators
- Learn more about the importance and plight of pollinators
- Share information about pollinators with your friends and family
Planting for Pollinators
Add color to your yard and help support pollinators by planting purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan, hardy lantana, aster, rhododendron and ironweed. Many other options can be found online or you can talk to a knowledgeable landscaper.
Also, in partnership with the State Botanical Garden at the University of Georgia, the Georgia Green Industry Association and the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension will soon launch the Pollinator Plants of the Year Program.
The plants chosen for 2021 include Conradina, also known as wild rosemary, sweet pepperbush, downy goldenrod—not the ragweed that makes us all sneeze, and butterfly weed, a Georgia native. Look for them to become available in garden centers across the state later this year.
As always, our Certified Turfgrass Professionals are available to answer your lawn questions. Give them a call at 770.832.8606 or send an email to info@NGTurf.com.