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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Should we eradicate millions more bees? Or should we let them pollinate?


no bees, no plants, no food
When you put plants into your landscape, you want to feel the sun warm your skin, smell the fresh earth as you dig, and listen to the birds making their sounds of spring.

Yet more and more gardeners -- as well as farmers, birdwatchers, beekeepers, food-lovers and others -- know something is missing: Nature's natural pollinators are dying off in massive numbers.  What happens if bees disappear? It's simple:
No bees, no food.  We rely on bees to pollinate everything from alfalfa to strawberries, from almonds to the hay used to feed dairy cows. Plus plants (directly or indirectly) provide food for millions and millions of birds. Plants provide protective cover and nesting sites too.  Yet the EPA is seriously considering approval of additional bee-killing pesticides that are 6,000 times more toxic than DDT. How bad are they?
 
Just one example: After a nearby farm planted corn seeds coated with these pesticides in 2013, a farmer named Dave Schuit lost 37 million of his bees. "Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions," said Schuit.
This shouldn't happen to our food supply. Tell the EPA to back off.
 
 

OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Robins don’t like our lawns


 
American Robin
A bird that lives here in north Texas 12-months of the year is the American Robin.  Like almost all birds, they’re very territorial. They want territories where they can get shelter, find food (to feed themselves and their offspring), find water, with places to hide from predators without a lot of hassle. But a large lawn (a perfect "hunting ground" for hungry hawks etc.) will frequently go unclaimed. Nor does a lawn have many bugs - food for many birds; nor does it have shelter. 

 

 

“Don’t throw that away!”       One thing Hummingbirds look for when selecting a nesting site are lichens, which they use to cover their nests.  Lichens, a kind of fungus, grow naturally on decomposing branches. It’s not hard to find some of this wood on the ground, after a storm.  Just pick them up and lay them around your yard.
 

 

OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton