Fragrant plants can be pleasant to your sense of smell and attract pollinators

By Josh Fuder for CAES News

When I set about building the landscape at my house in 2015, I selected plants based on a number of criteria. The factors I considered included edible fruits; aesthetics, such as blooms, foliage colors and textures; bloom season; adaptability; and price. A successful landscape incorporates these factors with design to create something that has multi-season interest.

In my opinion, a home landscape should go beyond a visual experience. It should say “someone lives here.” I realized last year that I was not paying enough attention to all of my senses when selecting plants. I had done a good job of mixing textures and bloom colors from plants that perform well in our area, but I was completely overlooking my nose and not judging plants on fragrance. Continue reading

Venus flytraps don’t eat insects that pollinate them

by Matt Shipman, NC State University

While most people are familiar with Venus flytraps and their snapping jaws, there is still a lot that scientists don’t know about the biology of these carnivorous plants. Researchers have for the first time discovered which insects pollinate the rare plants in their native habitat – and discovered that the flytraps don’t dine on these pollinator species.

Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) are in a genus all their own, and are native to a relatively small area, restricted to within a 100-mile radius of Wilmington, N.C. Continue reading

Wildflowers Draw Native Pollinators to Georgia Apple Orchard, Yields Increase

In Southern SARE newsletter

Joe Dickey’s curiosity about bees nearly matches his affinity for birds.

“I’ve loved birds ever since I was a kid because of all their different colors,” said Dickey, as he watches yellow finches fly around three 100X100-foot wildflower plots at his farm, Mountain View Orchards. But it’s the bees that are capturing his attention lately, and the wildflowers were planted for them. Continue reading

Assistant Researcher, Pollinator Biology

Position number 0083260 11-month tenure-track

Begin July 2017 or soon thereafter http://workatuh.hawaii.edu/Jobs/NAdvert/24393/4203342/2/postdate/desc Continue reading

Snout butterfly making migration in Texas

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

What may appear to some to be a butterfly invasion in South Central Texas is really just an annual migration of the American snout butterfly, said Molly Keck, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist for Bexar County.

“Right now these snout butterflies are migrating through the region in huge numbers on their way toward the Rio Grande River area,” Keck said

She said the insect gets its name from the elongated mouthparts called “palps” that extend from the head. Continue reading

Graduate students receive grants to study sustainable ways to manage pests and support beneficials

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (Southern SARE) Administrative Council recently funded 13 projects totaling $128,290. The Graduate Student Grants program is one of the few sustainable agriculture research funding opportunities open to Master’s and PhD students enrolled at accredited institutions throughout the Southern region. Continue reading

Pollinators help cotton yields in Texas

In Southwest Farm Press

by Logan Hawkes

According to the results of a new study published in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment today (June 16, 2016 issue), South Texas cotton fields surrounded by natural land cover and an increase in the number of natural pollinators can result in an overall increase in cotton production – by as much as 18 percent.

Shalene Jha, assistant professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas-Austin and senior author of the study, says increasing the diversity of pollinator species around cotton fields—including bees, flies and butterflies—can dramatically increase yields. Using South Texas as a basis for the study, she concludes that annual cotton revenues of the region can be increased by more than $1.1 million. Continue reading

The Georgia Pollinator Protection Plan

In Southeast Farm Press

by Stephen Pettis, University of Georgia Extension

With reports of declining monarch butterfly populations and honeybee deaths, the plight of pollinators and other beneficial insects has been headlining the news for months now.

Many factors contribute to pollinator decline. Loss of habitat, loss of food source plants and the overuse of pesticides are all likely disrupting populations. Continue reading

Attracting Pollinators to your Home Garden (in the South)

by Dr. Danesha Seth Carley, co-Director, Southern IPM Center

General Suggestions

You can attract butterflies and other insect pollinators to your yard or garden by growing plants that are attractive to both humans and pollinators (see list below for suggestions). You do not need a formal garden to include plants that will attract and support pollinators; even small patches of plants can help.

When choosing plants for your pollinator habitat, it is always best to aim for plant diversity. Consider that the bees and butterflies you want to attract need either food or habitat year-round. By including a variety of blooming herbs, trees and shrubs, vines as well as annuals and perennials in your garden, you will be not only attracting native pollinators, but also providing them a year-round place to thrive. Continue reading

Discover How to Support Pollinators with Cover Crops

Cover crops can do a lot for your farm. To learn how they can support a thriving community of pollinators and beneficial insects—which in turn can improve crop quality and yield—check out Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education’s (SARE) new 16-page publication, Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects. Continue reading