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NC State Extension

Local Celebration of National Pollinator Week

June 27-28, 2007

Photos and text by Debbie Roos, Agricultural Extension Agent.

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension and North Carolina State University celebrated the first annual National Pollinator Week June 24-30 with two days of educational programs on Wednesday June 27 at Pittsboro’s Chatham Marketplace and Thursday June 28 at Weaver Street Market in Carrboro.

We held two days full of educational programs at both Chatham Marketplacein Pittsboro and Weaver Street Market in Carrboro.

Educational programs were interspersed with time in the bee cage, and members of the Chatham County Beekeepers’ Association (at Chatham Marketplace) and Orange County Beekeepers’ Association (Weaver Street Market) were on hand to help answer questions

For more information about National Pollinator Week, visit The Pollinator Partnership website.

Check out the News and Observer story about our event.

Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro, NC on June 27, 2007

Chatham County Beekeepers’ Association president Jim Williams passes around a frame containing drawn out honeycomb for participants to get a closer look (and taste!). North Carolina State University Apiculture Specialist David Tarpy talks about how to become a beekeeper.

David Tarpy enlists the help of six year old Alec Beaton to model beekeeping protective gear.

David tarpy and Alec

Alec prepares to “inspect” his hive!

Once the veil was on his head, Alec had an ear-to-ear grin all the way through the presentation!

North Carolina State University entomologist Steve Bambara and beekeeper Jim Williams talk with participants. Steve gave a talk on pollinators in North Carolina.

Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, NC on June 28, 2007

I provided photos and text to Linda Fullwood, Weaver Street Market’s Marketing Director, and she made posters promoting National Pollinator Week.

Multiple posters provided facts about various pollinators. These were displayed aorund the store for two weeks prior to the event.

Both Weaver Street Market and Chatham Marketplace also developed special displays of the many products of the hive available at each store, including honey harvested by local beekeepers!

These are some of the images that appeared on the store’s posters. Clockwise from top left: hairstreak butterfly on goldenrod (Solidago spp.), hummingbird moth on Verbena, honey bee on millet, soldier beetles on Celosia.

We placed bee stickers on all the crops in the produce section that are pollinated by honey bees to educate shoppers about the importance of honey bees to our food system.Honey bees are the primary insect pollinator of approximately 100 crops nationwide and are responsible for one-third of everything that people eat every day! In North Carolina, many of the economically important crops such as cucumbers, apples, blueberries, and melons are dependent on honey bees for pollination and account for $100 million every year.

A close-up shot of the bee sticker.

The NC State University bee cage was a big hit at Weaver Street Market. The cage allows a beekeeper to open up a hive while keeping the bees confined. NC State University’s Jennifer Keller talks to visitors about bees and beekeeping.

Talk about a rapt audience! These visitors can’t take their eyes off of the fascinating bees.

Steve Bambara talks about various North Carolina pollinators.

David Tarpy gives another talk about beekeeping on the Weaver Street Market lawn.

I gave talks on how to plant a pollinator garden and brought examples of great native plant species that attract native bees, honey bees, and other pollinators. We also distributed literature and posters.

I am developing a Pollinator Conservation Guide for the Growing Small Farms website. I have spent the past year researching plants that will provide forage for native bees and honey bees and are adapted for the Piedmont. I have taken hundreds of photos of these plants as well as pollinators. I am now slowly building the website and will phase it in over time. You can visit the Pollinator Conservation Guide to see Phase I.

Did You Know…?

About 75% of all flowering plant species need the help of animals to move their heavy pollen grains from plant to plant for fertilization. Most pollinators are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees. A small percentage of pollinators are vertebrates such as hummingbirds, bats, and small mammals such as mice.

Pollinators are essential components of the habitats and ecosystems that many wild animals rely on for food and shelter. As landscapes are converted from wild to managed lands, many pollinators’ habitats may be destroyed or fragmented. These changes can lead to the loss of wildflowers used by pollinators for foraging, nesting, and/or egg-laying.

Worldwide, approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fiber, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to produce the goods on which we depend. Examples include blueberries, melons, chocolate, coffee, peaches, vanilla, almonds, apples, oranges, lemons, carrots, avocados, onions, broccoli, and much more!

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