Celebrate Pollinator Week: build habitat
Gainesville, FL., June 16, 2014– This week is pollinator week, and you can celebrate by creating some habitat to keep bees, butterflies, bats, beetles, moths, birds and other critters around to continue providing food, beverages, medicine and fiber. The following list of Florida native plants start easily from seeds, are either perennial or strong re-seeders, like full sun and are adapted to most Florida soils.
Lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
Leavenworth’s Tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii)
Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum = Eupatorium coelestinum)
Dotted Horsemint (Monarda punctata)
Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Manyflowered Beardtongue (Penstemon multiflorus)
Blanketflower or Firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella)
Seed packets and information including photographs for these and other native wildflowers can be found at Florida Wildflower Growers Cooperative website. Transplants may be available at a local nursery that carries native Florida plants.
Some additional tips for helping pollinators:
Find non-chemical solutions to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides in your landscape. Incorporate plants that attract beneficial insects for pest control and, if you do use pesticides, use them sparingly and responsibly.
Accept some plant damage on plants meant to provide habitat for butterfly and moth larvae.
Provide clean water for pollinators with a shallow dish, bowl, or birdbath with half-submerged stones for perches.
Leave dead tree trunks, also called “snags,” in your landscape for wood-nesting bees and beetles.
Support land conservation in your community by helping to create and maintain community gardens and green spaces to ensure that pollinators have appropriate habitat.
Farmers and ranchers are also doing their part to help pollinators. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is funding $300,000 in Florida through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to promote conservation practices that help reverse the loss of pollinator food and habitat. The signup deadline is July 18.
Some of the conservation practices that address loss of foraging habitat for pollinators include conservation cover, field borders and hedgerow planting. To learn more, contact your local field office in Florida.