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Butterflies and bees are our very best friends

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It is the small details that make the whole difference, they say. This is also very true about the landscape surrounding us; for instance, the smallest components in our fruit-deliveries are the bees, bats and butterflies. They are the pollinators of the flowers, and the first ones to make sure we have fruits and vegetables on our tables.

However, since 2006 the US Department of Agriculture has received reports from bee-keepers of high percentage of collapsed bee-colonies. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has not been found to have a single cause; thus, is usually a combination of environmental problems like the weather, chemicals, etc.

Now, Mark Salvato, a Biologist working for US Fish and Wildlife Services, is reporting two Florida butterfly species as possible extinct. The problem can be a combination of storms, habitat loss and mosquito-spraying, he says in an article in Miami Herald by Jenny Staletovich; jstaletovich@MiamiHerald.com: ‘Rare butterflies fight for survival’.

She also reports in this article about a release of 2-300 hand-sized Shaus swallowtails, one of the world rarest butterflies. The successful breading was done in a lab in Gainesville by a team of scientist’s: but as Salvato so rightfully puts it “Unless you fix the cause, they gravitate back to where you started”.

Although we might not see that very much of the bees, bats or the butterflies, we sure will miss the fruit of their labor if they are not around. We know more now about that we all live in the same Eco-system, and that we also are depending on each other; thus, “when we start losing entire suites of butterflies, we know we are not managing the habitat correctly”, Mark Salvato also said in the article. We sure cannot regulate the weather, but we can keep our plants healthy maintained and thereby our environment more clean from harmful substances; many times applied in the lack of proper pruning that keep the most insects away.

They are small, but they are right! The loss of these pollinating species can additionally become like the small turf that tilted the whole wagon. This is why organic and bio-logical growing makes even more a healthy sense: who thrives in a wastebasket, or in a polluted environment? Hence, within our habitat-crowded places we can still strive to fill our place in the Eco-system by working with the biological forces; but most importantly, is careful not to work against it.

Just like Kenneth Setzer wisely says in his Fairchild’s Tropical Garden column of 5/11/2014 in Miami Herald, ‘How to help our beleaguered bees’: avoid herbicides containing Atrazine to contaminate the groundwater; banned in Europe because it caused hormonal and reproductive destruction. Instead, if you pick the weeds by hand when you see them, or at the end of the winter, it will work fine in the long run in smaller areas if you are on top of it. Although we want it to be all roses and no thorns, sometimes we have to step up to the responsibilities, even if it means some trouble, or that we reluctantly have to throw cow manure on the roses.

Growing organically or biologically also involves selecting plants native to your area. In addition: to provide a steady food-supply for the bees, Kenneth Setzer advices to select plants that flower at different times of the year. The Living Color Garden Center on 3691 Griffin Rd in Dania Beach, www.livingcolorgardencenter.net, who are presenting a year round flowering frenzy, or the charming www.palmhammockorchidest.net at 9995 SW 66’th St, can provide you with excellent selections, or you can try www.afnn.org to find a native nursery.

Also see my earlier articles about proper pruning and plant-maintenance; or if you have any plant-problems or plant growing-questions, send your question to ritaglantz@yahoo.com, or visit www.floridayards.org.

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