Our Vital Pollinators: Birds, Bats, Bees and Butterflies

Our Vital Pollinators: Birds, Bats, Bees and Butterflies

Pollinators – birds, bats, bees and butterflies – are critical. They pollinate over 200,000 of the world’s flowering plants, including 80% of our food plants.  The genetic material they transfer allows seeds to form, which continue the species.

Kurt Leushner, a popular professor at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, highlighted our local pollinators at a recent horticulture meeting.

Below are some of his highlights [Read more…]

Plants for Bees: 12 month log of plants

Plants for Bees: 12 month log of plants

I’ve been fishing up to a dozen bees out of our pool the last few days (about 2/3rd survive if I make my rounds frequently) so I knew something was blooming in the vicinity. Yep, looking nearby, the loquats were in full bloom. I had an earlier post with a 6 month list of plants used by the bees on our half acre of property. Here’s a more complete list [Read more…]

Nature’s Take: Yes on Prop 37

Nature’s Take: Yes on Prop 37

I’ve been following the campaign dollars and the newspaper endorsements surrounding Proposition 37 –where a yes vote would approve the genetically engineered foods labeling initiative.

Polls conducted two months ago showed 2/3 voters supporting it. Now, after a huge ad blitz against the initiative – according to a Reuters article today, $46 million have spent – it’s expected to fail. [Read more…]

Favorite Natives: Salvias (Sages) for Aroma, Wildlife and Spectacular Flowers

Favorite Natives: Salvias (Sages) for Aroma, Wildlife and Spectacular Flowers

Native California salvias (commonly called sages) make my favorite list for many reasons: their spectacular show of flowers spring through summer, their aroma that permeates the air, especially after rainfall. Also, the sages in our landscaping offer great wildlife habitat. I have photos of butterflies, hummingbirds and a variety of bees taking the nectar, while a variety of birds [Read more…]

Favorite Natives: Buckwheat for Bees & Butterflies

Favorite Natives: Buckwheat for Bees & Butterflies

Wherever you live, if you want to attract bees to pollinate your garden or you want to add more butterfly plants to your yard, you can’t find a better plant than buckwheat — or the many varieties available today. I just returned from a favorite walk, which winds through a neighborhood of large lots, most edged with large stands of native plants. The bees were busy [Read more…]

Did you know: 1600 bee species in California?

Did you know: 1600 bee species in California?

I visited the Living Desert Museum in Palm Desert the other day and came across an exhibit on bees that stated the following fact:

There are over 1600 species of bees in California.

Now I find that amazing – 1600 out of an estimated 4000 worldwide. It went on to say that 100 different species were living around the plants growing in the exhibit. I asked Dr. Robin Thorp, entomology professor of University of California-Davis some questions [Read more…]

Carpenter Bees: Reconsider Viewing Them as Pests

Carpenter Bees: Reconsider Viewing Them as Pests

We’ve got lots of carpenter bees — visiting the Cleveland Sage in our front yard, and now laying eggs above. About a year ago I saw sawdust below an old parrot perch sitting outside and over the next few months got to witness an adult carpenter bee drilling into the wood prior to laying eggs. Then I even caught a newbie below one of the holes as it adjusted to making its way into the natural world. We have other old wood posts where they appear to have nested – and I was glad to offer them nesting sites on our property. They are also very active in pollinating our flowers.

However, you hear so many negative things about them so I asked a couple bee experts [Read more…]