While research has shown that pollinators, specifically honey bees, can’t survive on dandelion pollen alone, this doesn’t mean that the dandelions aren’t still important for pollinators.
All Pollinators Content
By now, you’ve probably read headlines about the Asian giant hornets (aka “murder hornets”) that were spotted in Washington state and across the border in Canada. It is important to note that Asian giant hornets have only been confirmed in a small area of Washington and Canada. These wasps have not been observed in South Dakota or our neighboring states.
With their distinctive black and yellow stripes and tendency to hang out in groups, wasps receive attention no matter the time of year. As the weather warms up and spring progresses, you may notice more wasp activity in your yard or around your house.
A guide of Native Pollinator Plants in South Dakota.
Wasps receive attention no matter the time of year, but they are especially noticeable in late summer and early fall. Wasps such as yellow jackets and paper wasps have annual nests, so the majority of the individuals that are active now will not survive the winter. Only the newly produced queens will find a sheltered location to overwinter and begin a new colony in the spring.
Generally speaking, ‘pollinators’ refers to the suite of plants that produce nectar and pollen (generally flowering broadleaf plants) and the insects and other animals (birds, bats, etc.) that spread the pollen for plant reproduction. In the last several years, the honey bee has been at the center of the pollinator discussion, as their populations have crashed – placing bee keepers and their fruit and nut producing clientele at risk.
Spring and early summer can been cool and wet in South Dakota. The extra moisture combined with cooler temperatures can sometimes encourage rapid growth of some insects.
Many of our native bee species are solitary. In order to ensure that these kinds of bees spend more time in our yards and gardens, it is important to make sure we include places for them to nest.
In field-grown tomatoes the air movement is sufficient to vibrate flowers and achieve pollination. This is not generally true in the high tunnel because there is not sufficient natural wind to vibrate the flowers. High tunnel tomato growers should therefore pollinate their crop by other means.