Bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are important pollinators for many food crops and medicinal plants, like this purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Photo Credit: FS photo by Teresa Prendusi
Every time you walk into your garden to enjoy a beautiful flower or pick a fruit, think about thanking a bee, butterfly or hummingbird. These and other kinds of animals are pollinators and the subject of USDA’s participation in the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign which celebrates National Pollinator Week June 18-24. Read more »
Some bees are specialists that only pollinate certain plants. This squash bee works the Cucurbita crops—squash and pumpkins. (Photo courtesy of Nancy Adamson and the Xerces Society)
A recently awarded USDA Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) will fund research into bee-friendly seed mixes.
A partnership made up of the Xerces Society, University of Wisconsin Center for Integrated Agriculture Systems and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Wisconsin is working to develop and test seed mixes that will provide the best habitat for native bees. CIG-funded projects use innovative technologies and approaches to address natural resources issues. Read more »
Nicollet Tower, surrounded by a sea of native grasses and wildflowers.
South Dakota is in the middle of the Great Plains, a vast prairie ecosystem stretching across much of North America that two hundred years ago was covered in native grasses and wildflowers. Today, visitors can get a glimpse of the prairie of the past, with the help of NRCS’ Conservation Technical Assistance Program. Read more »
In an intense around-the-clock operation, more than 60,000 worker bees have churned out 30 pounds of raw honey from a USDA laboratory in Gastonia, N.C.
The People’s Garden Initiative beehives are managed by the staff of National Science Laboratory (NSL), a part of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). To support the 2011 Feds Feed Families initiative the team has donated all of the honey to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, which encompasses the Charlotte, N.C., metropolitan area.
The honey is a product of local poplar and Tupelo trees. In a process known as centrifuge extraction, the sweet nectar was spun from honeycomb and then poured into 1-pound bottles and labeled as shown below. Read more »
The USDA Forest Service, along with Pollinator Partnership, has produced a booklet called Bee Basics: An Introduction to our Native Bee. From the booklet, the southeastern blueberry bee (Habropoda laboriosa) visiting blossoms of a rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum).
When I was a kid, there was one category for bees – “the stinging kind.” Fear of being stung wouldn’t allow me to consider variations among the swarms that patrolled playgrounds. The only thing that made bees tolerable was … the honey. Read more »
A butterfly gathers nectar from a mimosa flower in Adams County.
Along the lush banks of the Sunflower River, Steve Martens has a slice of paradise. The Madison, Miss. resident owns 1,600 acres of farmland and forests, hospitable not only to soybeans and corn, but also to whitetail deer and bobwhite quail. Read more »