Creating backyard pollinator habitats

February 2, 2019

Creating backyard habitats to attract pollinators like butterflies and bees has become an important landscape trend.

Whether you want to attract butterflies, other pollinators, or create a sustainable landscape, plan on attending my “Creating Backyard Pollinator Habitats” class at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at at the Extension office in Columbus.

In the class, you will learn about pollination, pollinators, how to create pollinator habitats and about native and adapted plants to use in attracting butterflies and native bees.

At the end of class, you will have the option of constructing a solitary bee hotel to take home. If the idea of having a bee hotel in your backyard is a bit scary, attend the class to find out why it’s not scary at all. Note this will be a bee nesting hotel, not a beehive.

In Nebraska Extension, we provide science based education and outreach related to issues identified by Nebraskans. Beneficial insect ecosystems, including pollinator conservation, is one issue area identified.

The goal of this programming is to help Nebraskans gain and share knowledge about the role of beneficial insects in agriculture and urban landscapes, leading to the adoption of conservation practices.

The objective is to enhance beneficial insect ecosystems, supporting a sustainable food supply and protecting biodiverse landscapes.

As a horticulturist, I teach about backyard habitats to conserve pollinators. Selecting and planting a diversity of adapted plants along with using correct care and pest management practices is one focus, whether the audience is 4-Hers, homeowners, Master Gardeners or greenspace professionals.

With backyard pollinator habitats a growing landscape trend, it is important to understand who we are trying to attract and the best plants and practices for doing that. Plants selected also need to be adapted to our growing conditions and not be plants that could become invasive.

Along with wise plant selection, using wise pest control practices and responsible pesticide use is another goal of this outreach. These practices will be touched on in this class.

In Nebraska, there are over 17 types of butterflies considered fairly easy to attract and there are close to 350 types of solitary bees in the Great Plains we can help conserve. All are important to our ecosystem.

If you are interested in learning more, plan to attend the Creating Pollinator Habitat class at the Extension office at 2715 13th street in downtown Columbus. The cost is $10 per person. Registration ahead of time is not needed, but it is appreciated. Call the Extension office at 402-563-4901 for questions or to register.

Kelly Feehan is a community environment educator for Nebraska Extension-Platte County.

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