From Across the Field – In Bloom

Things have really begun to green up over the past couple of weeks and are now in full bloom. With some heat units and dry weather in the forecast it doesn’t look like planting will take long after a delayed start once again.

Many of our landscape and garden plants either have or are beginning to flower. From an aesthetic point of view, I really do enjoy blossoming fruit trees and shrubs. This has always been a “catch 22” as while I appreciate a variety of plants in a landscape, this represents a challenging time for myself and many others as with flowers come pollen and with pollen comes allergy season. I guess it’s time to break out the eye drops and nasal spray.

While pollen and I do not get along very well, it is a necessity to the survival of bees and other pollinating species. We are in the beginning of pollination season with fruit trees, flowers, and garden plants having flowers. While plants are flowering there are some things to consider with regards to promoting and protecting pollinator species. This winter was one of the worst with regard to honey bee losses and hive collapses.

While replacing an entire bee colony can be costly, with luck, OSU entomologists, Drs. Kelley Tilmon and Andy Michel say that the populations of existing colonies will soon be large enough that they will be able to make a honey crop off of clover, locust, alfalfa, and soybeans in the coming months.  Beekeepers can then then move their colonies into pumpkins or cucumbers later in the summer.

Unfortunately, as Tilmon and Michel write in this week’s C.O.R.N. newsletter, colony growth can be directly threatened by corn planting.  Insecticide seed treatments used on corn seed generate an insecticidal dust when they are planted.  Insecticidal seed treatment dust can also settle on these flowers that bees are visiting. Honey bees are specifically at risk because they do not immediately kill the adult foraging bees that encounter the insecticide. With honeybees, they pick the dust up with the pollen by the forager and brought back to the colony where it is fed to young bees.  So it is the future workforce for the colony that is hit hardest by corn planting-related seed treatment dust.

Lastly don’t forget that Mother’s Day is this weekend. I usually stop by a local greenhouse and get some flowers to plant in my mother’s flower beds. That’s one of many things on the check list for this weekend.

Keeping Mother’s Day in mind, I’ll end this week with a quote from one of my favorite historical figures, Mark Twain, “My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.” Have a great week.

June 18 – Henry Co. Beef Quality Assurance

Garth Ruff,
Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator
OSU Henry County Extension

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