Pollinators are essential to wildlife and farming and they come in many different forms. Many homeowners as well as producers are making a concerted effort to create or enhance pollinator habitats that North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission offers their services to help with planning and implementation. Wildlife Habitat Coordinator John Isenhour says there are two main approaches to establishing a habitat.
We can plant native species to enhance habitat or we can manage the seedbank being that we control the non-native species that are there and see what comes back that’s been laying there dormant for a long time. So that’s kind of the standard way that we would approach pollinator habitat management anyway, from there figured out the limitations of landowners that capabilities landowners exactly what they want, and then we can modify recommendations to make it fit their objectives.
Isenhour says the dilemma of the European honeybee in America is well documented, but he suggests that farmers should be more focused on solitary type bees nests.
What we really want to strive for is it to enhance the habitat for the solitary bees that live in the ground, live in hollow stems of plants, or bumblebees that might be in a colony. Very important pollinators that don’t come in a box. And by managing habitat, not just for the bloom, but also for the structure. You can have these species that overwinter not just pollinating species, but also predatory Wasp and other things. That are beneficial insects as well.
Pollinator habitats on a farm do not have to detract from fertile farmland. On the contrary, Isenhour says farmers can use less-productive areas.
Wooded areas that are high and dry that might just might not have the crop production that their their best land would have. In a lot of these instances, it actually costs them to farm those areas. If they can identify those areas with the help of an agronomist or a crop consultant, adding native plants along those fill borders, maybe grass waterways, putting a few a little more diversity in the grass waterways, leaving some fallow areas, all those things are practices that farmers can do.
For more information, visit ncwildlife.org.