Bees and flowers decline in step

Geoffrey Barnier
Mon, 24 Jul 2006 01:45:20 PDT
Gary in Hawaii has brought to notice an interesting topic of pollinators generally.  I do not have the night moth in my area which pollinates Tulbaghia, which isn't surprising since I've taken the plant away out of its natural habitat of South Africa.  But I would have thought that one of our local pollinators would step in & do the job but no. The only night moth I know of here is Spodoptera picta, the Lily Borer, Australia's answer to Brithys crini syn. Brithys pancratii or Amaryllis Caterpillar. But looking on the brightside, since Tulbaghias are rather promiscuous & I'm growing many species, then at least my Tulbaghias won't hybridise without my intervention.

Organic & permaculture gardeners recommend planting an area of between 1% & 5% of one's land with a nectar source for beneficial & pest-controlling insects for good results. This can be along fencelines or garden edges.

Planting particular flowers & herbs, known as insectary plants, has been proven to improve the natural balance & reduce pest outbreaks.

The insectary plant area should be allowed to go somewhat wild & provides year-round nectar, pollen & habitat for native & introduced beneficials, e.g. predatory mites & wasps, ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies, tachnid flies & predatory beetles as well as bees.

Insectary plants include red clover, lucerne, sweet alice, dill, caraway, coriander, cosmos, buckwheat, baby's breath, marigold & Queen Anne's Lace.

Every little bit helps.

Geoff in Nimbin
Subtropical NSW Australia

More information about the pbs mailing list