Wacky Weather Thank Goodness for Native Pollinators


We have had yet another melting record breaking highs and yet another freezing rain event plus some ice pellets and snow thrown in the mix.  Reports on the local gardener and farmer grape vine is that a number of trees started budding out. Mine did not.  Others reported a lot of branch breaking, while I had a lot of trouble with my bigger older trees, unlike so many others that have shared the news and also that I have seen while driving by, my heavy hand on pruning the past five years is proving itself to be very handy indeed.

While I did prune for fruiting ( I want the fruit) I also pruned at times that lost me fruit but pretty prepared the trees themselves for storms and weather events.  There is a younger farm that planted out heavy in fruit trees not far from me, very close in land, zoning same and so on.  They are very tradional in how they planted them out and how they pruned them.. They have often shaken their head when talking to me about my food forest/layered underlaying and have taken their time to point out to me that their trees are bigger, that they have produced more etc. I have agreed, their trees are bigger, they have started producing sooner and heavier then mine. 

On the flip side, when we both got hit by heavy early frosts, they lost whole sections of crops, where as my late season bloomers still produced, when the big storms have moved though with the high winds the damage has been so much worse in those straight rows and open mowed lines, and as I drove by today, it was the biggest trees that had the most limb damage in the past ice storms. Which makes sense, fast growth does not mean strong growth. 

Sadly these storms are also doing a number on the honey bees, I feel so bad for those that have honey producers, my goodness they have had a very rough go of it over the past five years.. So many years of losses across the whole country! I am beyond grateful for those that are still being successful and are helping produce queens for those that need replacement.  Buy local honey, Support your local Honey producer and remember honey is a amazing gift to give friend and family.  A pot of honey, some amazing tea and some homemade treats to go with is delight for all to receive!


Having said that when it comes to climate change and being able to adapt, the native bees are clear winners in this regard here on the homestead. Yes it means that I have planted and support non-food producing spring feeder trees, but those same trees do have propose for me (willows need I say more there) plus they are massive on working with and feeding a host of natives in many ways.  To create spring, summer and fall feeding habitat does take effort and work, understanding their needs for breeding, coons or under ground nesting sites and or stems is important. Leave it messy is a very hard thing for many gardeners, add in the fact that now we need to really look at the leave it messy as a possible fire hazard depending on where you live.  


Remember its not just the bees that act as pollinators, Ants do a pretty amazing job on a number of things! ok compared to bees they are in fact pretty poor pollinators unless its a plant that has evolved to work with the ants and then its on par.. on average they are only about 10 percent as good as a bee.. 

Here is the thing, 10 percent is not 0 by any means. if every ant that visits works its 10 percent, add that up over and its still pretty good.  What if its a overcast day or a super windy day where the bees are lean, at least when I check the ants are still out there getting the job done even if its a slower pace. 


I have certain trees that the ants love, their favorite here is the cherries, o my gosh, the ants on the cherry trees in spring are crazy as is the tiny wee native bees, they seem swarm all the cherry trees and all the black choke cherry and pin cherry bushes and trees.  They also love anything in the rose family!


Then come the moths and butterflies, different seasons and in some cases those troublemakers.. you will never see me excited to see cabbage moths, sigh.. those white moths are so pretty and so yet, dang those green babies are crazy eaters.  Now on the plus side if you can put in a early trap crop for them to lay on timed right, the wild birds will thank you massively for all those tasty fat baby’s to take back and fill their always hungry young. 

If you are a honey bee keeper, I wish you the best of luck in 2023, its going to be a hard year. If you are a native bee farmer like myself, I hope you have lots of coons in the fridge and even more in the wild, so that if the weather goes wonky in the spring, you can hold the coons (as I plan to do) till the weather is good for hatching in case you have a issue with the wild born in the early spring.  If you have not already done so, improve and increase the plan for your leaf cutter and squash bees populations. 


May your yards, gardens and fruit bearing trees, bushes and canes be loaded with all kinds and sizes of pollinators! So that the fruit and veggies yields are bountiful!



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1 Response to Wacky Weather Thank Goodness for Native Pollinators

  1. Michaela Charles says:

    Thanks for your update!your blog is one

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