Press-Republican

Columns

June 16, 2013

Gardening must be pollinator friendly

When I mention pollen, most people think about allergies. And it’s true that pollen released from trees, weeds and grasses may trigger them, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, sometimes referred to as hay fever.

There are two types of pollen, however, lighter pollen carried by the wind over long distances and heavier, tackier pollen, which is not. It’s the lighter pollen that is responsible for most allergies.

The vast majority of seed-bearing plants produce the latter, which needs to be carried from flower to flower, mostly by bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. While foraging for nectar, a pollinator, such as a bee, will rub up against the pollen within a flower. The pollen sticks to the insect’s body and is then transferred to other flowers.

There’s been a lot of concern lately about pollinators, especially honeybees mysteriously dying off, and about habitat for pollinators becoming reduced by urban development, pesticides, disease and climate change.

According to USDA, three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators. Some scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat couldn’t exist without bees, butterflies, moths, birds, bats, beetles and other insects.

Pollinators play a beneficial role in the production of apples, alfalfa, beans, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cucumbers, melons, pears, plums, onions, raspberries, soybeans, squash, strawberries and numerous other food crops. When healthy populations of pollinators are present, yields and quality are increased both in agriculture, where they are also important in production of many of the plants that we rely on for dietary fats and oils (i.e. canola), fibers (i.e. cotton) and for medicines (i.e. goldenseal), and in the wild where they play a vital role in maintaining natural communities.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time