2018-05-23 / Front Page

The buzz with pollinators

Purdue Extension Corner

It is not uncommon to hear individuals talk about pollinators and/ or a pollinator garden. Pollinators are important to our daily lives. It is estimated that one in three bites of food is due to pollinators. Additionally, it is estimated over $18.9 billion dollars worth of crops in the United States depend on pollinators.

The term pollinator refers an animal that assist plants through the pollination process. They do this by moving pollen from one part of the flower of a plant to another part. This pollen then fertilizes the plant. Indiana is home to 430 different species of bees, 144 different species of butterflies, more than 2,000 different species of moths, and many different species of flower-visiting flies, wasps, ants, and beetles who serve as pollinators. Some of the common pollinators that individuals think about are honeybees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, monarch butterflies, swallowtail butterflies, and the Luna moth.

To help pollinators thrive, many individuals have designated a portion of their property as a pollinator habitat. Pollinator habitats are often made with a variety of native plants that bloom in different colors, shapes, and sizes. This is important because different pollinators like different types of flowers. For example, red tubular flowers with a nectar reward tend to attract hummingbirds. Bees and flies with shorter mouthparts often visit daisy-like flowers that provide nectar and pollen in shallow flowers.

Pollinator habitats often have plants that are blooming throughout the growing season (spring, summer, and fall). Lastly, pollinator habitats often contain plants that some individuals would classify as weeds because they provide food for the pollinators, including dandelions, milkweed, goldenrod, and clover.

If you would like to learn more about pollinators and pollinator habitats, consider signing up and attending the Pollinator Workshop scheduled for May 24.

This workshop is free and will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Putnam County Fairgrounds. Emily Jacob, Farm Bill Biologist, Pheasant Forever, Inc & Quail Forever, will be presenting on pollinator habitat and Bob Bruner, Purdue Extension, will be discussing bees. Although this workshop is free, we do encourage interested parties to register for the workshop in advance. You can register by calling 765-653-8411, emailing smith535@purdue.edu or going online to http:// tinyurl.com/y92nks32

Visit our homepage at www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 765-653-8411 for more information regarding this week’s column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. Purdue University is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. All times listed are Eastern Time.

Upcoming Events:

May 24 – Pollinator Workshop, 6:30 p.m., Fairgrounds, Register at: http://tinyurl.com/y92nks32

May 28 – Extension Office Closed in observance of Memorial Day

May 31 – Planting for Pollinators Webinar, 12 Noon, Register at: https:// ag.purdue.edu/Extension/ wia/Pages/webinars.aspx

June 7 – On Local Government, 11 a.m., Extension Office

June 14 – Electricity 4-H Workshop, 9 a.m. – Noon, Harris Hall Fairgrounds

June 20 – YQCA Cert Program, Fairgrounds, 10 a.m., RSVP online

June 20 – YQCA Cert Program, Fairgrounds, 1 p.m., RSVP online

(by Jenna Nees, Extension Educator, Ag & Natural Resources Adult Education Coordinator, Purdue Extension – Putnam County Putnam Co. SWCD)

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