Upcoming Events



Fire Alert Issued as Drought Conditions Worsen

wildfire

UPDATED 10/11/16

Above normal temperatures have combined with the below normal rainfall to worsen drought conditions across Central Alabama. These conditions have made it a very favorable risk for the occurrence of wildfires. Just this week, the Alabama Forestry Commission has upgraded the Fire Danger Warning, issuing a Fire Alert for 46 counties in north Alabama effective immediately due to the very dry conditions.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that drought conditions have worsened during the past two weeks. As of October 4th, 2016, areas of Central Alabama are in a moderate drought to severe drought, with some locations in an extreme drought.  Rainfall deficits of 5-15 inches for the year are now being reported in most areas of Central Alabama. Soil moistures are running well below normal for this time of the year across most sections of Central Alabama with the greatest deficits in the eastern sections.

According to AFC fire officials, the Fire Alert was issued because of the current drought situation, continued lack of precipitation, high probability of fuel ignition, and shortage of available firefighting manpower and resources. With this extremely dry weather, conditions are such that any fire can quickly spread out of control, not only resulting in damage to our forests but also threatening and destroying homes. Over the last seven days, 307 wildfires have occurred across Alabama burning approximately 3,698 acres.

The fire danger warning is for 46 Alabama counties and includes: Autauga, Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, Dallas, DeKalb, Elmore, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Montgomery, Morgan, Perry, Pickens, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker, and Winston.

This Fire Alert will remain in effect until rescinded by the State Forester, at which time conditions will have changed sufficiently to reduce the occurrence and frequency of wildfires. The Commission is urging everyone to exercise all necessary safety precautions when doing any type of outdoor burning, and to call the Alabama Forestry Commission to obtain a burn permit. While under the Fire Alert, permits for outdoor burning in these counties will be restricted and issued on an individual basis.

Some safety tips during dry weather conditions to prevent wildfires are:

  • Comply with all local laws and regulations including burn bans.
  • Check the weather. Do not start outdoor fires during windy conditions and low humidity.
  • Avoid burning household trash, leaves, or brush piles.
  • Keep campfires contained and completely extinguish it with water and dirt before leaving the campsite.
  • Never leave a gas grill or charcoal grill unattended.
  • Never throw a lighted cigarette out of the window of a vehicle.
  • Avoid driving and parking a vehicle on dry vegetation.

The drought conditions are also already having an impact on the landscape. In addition to the risk of wildfires, the latest USDA reports indicate that the drought conditions are continuing to harm many crops across the area. Many pastures are reported as burned up, with some cattle producers already having to feed hay to their stocks. The dry weather is also impacting late soybean crops that are trying to fill out. Many trees that normally have beautiful fall color are going dormant early and shedding brown leaves.  Some woodland trees and landscape plants are suffering and dying due to lack of moisture.

It seems every possible rain shower in the area has bypassed or fizzled out before reaching our area of Tallapoosa County, especially the Dadeville area.   With October traditionally being the driest month, an end to this pattern of dry conditions may not end any time soon.

Extension to offer Master Naturalist Course in October

master naturalist - banner

The Alabama Master Naturalist (AMN) program is a statewide program whose goal is to help promote awareness, understanding, and respect for Alabama’s natural world among Alabama’s citizens and visitors.  In addition, the AMN program will also develop a statewide corps of well-informed volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.

IMG_3552To become a fully certified Alabama Master Naturalist typically takes 1 full year, but it may take longer depending on the training regiment and track each participant chooses to follow.  A participant starts by completing a 40-basic training course that is offered through Extension.

In addition to the 40-hours of basic training, participants are also required to complete 30 hours of volunteer service during the first year (these hours will be split between a class project and other volunteer opportunities that meet the programs requirements). Once the basic training and the volunteer hours are completed during the first year, each participant will be identified as an Alabama Master Naturalist in Training.

During the next three years, an additional 30 hours of advanced training will also be required to become a fully certified Alabama Master Naturalist.  In addition, each AMN will be encouraged to complete a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service as described in the AMN program per year.  AMN’s that complete and report their 40 hours of volunteer service per year will be eligible for special benefits associated with the AMN Program.

The Alabama Master Naturalist Program  will offer  a course in East Central Alabama beginning October  13, 2016.  The eight session course will be hosted by the Tallapoosa County Extension office  and held on Thursdays either once or twice a month.  Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and consist of:

  1. Taxonomy, Botany and Native Plants
  2. Freshwater Ecosystems and Living Streams
  3. Forests and Ecosystems
  4. Birds and Mammals
  5. Amphibians and Reptiles
  6. Geology, Soils and Weather
  7. Alabama’s Cultural Landscape
  8. Invertebrates (including Insects)

Full course details can be found here in the 2016 Master Naturalist Course Pamphlet.  Class locations will be at Wind Creek State Park in Alexander City and other to be determined locations. Cost of this course is $30 per day or $200 for all 8 sessions.

Alabama full or part-time residents who are interested in nature, enjoy the outdoors, and have a desire to help with natural resource management and conservation in Alabama are the perfect candidates to become Alabama Master Naturalists.  The AMN Program is open to adults who reside or work in Alabama for at least part of the year.  It is open to all adults regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.

If you are interested in participating in the Master Naturalist Program, participants may register online at the links below OR by calling the Tallapoosa County Extension office at (256) 825-1050. Registration Deadline is Friday, October 7, 2016.


ONLINE REGISTRATION

Register for Entire Course ($200):

Register for Individual Classes ($30 each):


 

Take Caution Against Lightning During Thunderstorms

lightning

With all the pop up thunderstorms we have been having lately, one has to be very cautious against one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena – lightning.  Summer is the peak time for outdoor activities and also happens to be the peak season for lightning. According to the NOAA, over the last 20 years, the United States averaged 51 annual lightning strike fatalities, placing it in the second position, just behind floods for deadly weather.

NOAA’s National Weather Service has discovered that 64 percent of lightning deaths since 2006 occurred while people were participating in leisure activities. The number one leisure activity was fishing followed by camping  and boating.  Between 2006 and 2012, 82 percent of people killed by lightning were male.

Let’s be careful and make sure that none of us have the unpleasant opportunity.  Be smart and follow these lighting safety tips:

  • Watch for environmental clues, such as increasing wind, flashes of lightning, sounds of thunder, darkening skies, and AM radio static.
  • Stay indoors. Don’t go outside unless absolutely necessary.
  • Stay away from open doors, windows, and patios, fireplaces, radiators, stoves, metal pipes, sinks and plug-in electrical appliances.
  • Unplug all unnecessary appliances BEFORE the storm approaches.
  • Don’t use plug-in electrical equipment like hair dryers, electric tooth brushes or electric razors during the storm.
  • Don’t use the telephone, especially corded ones, during the storm. Lightning may strike telephone lines outside.
  • Don’t take laundry off the clothesline.
  • Don’t work on fences, telephone or power lines, pipelines or structural steel fabrication.
  • Don’t use metal objects like fishing rods and golf clubs. Golfers wearing cleated shoes are particularly good lightning rods.
  • Don’t handle flammable materials in open containers
  • Stop tractor work, especially when the tractor is pulling metal equipment, and dismount. Tractors and other implements in metallic contact with the ground are often struck by lightning.
  • Avoid water! Get out of boats and swimming pools and away from water.
  • Stay in your automobile if you are traveling. Automobiles offer excellent lightning protection. The rubber tires DO NOT protect you, it’s the roof.
  • Seek shelter in buildings. If no buildings are available, your best protection is a cave, ditch, canyon or under head-high clumps of trees in open forest glades.
  • When there is no shelter, avoid the highest object in the area. If only isolated trees are nearby, your best protection is to crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from isolated trees as the trees are high.
  • Avoid hilltops, open spaces, wire fences, metal clothes lines, exposed sheds and any electrically conductive elevated objects.
  • If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stands on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible, and be sure to minimize your contact with the ground!

People struck by lightning receive a severe electrical shock and may be burned. However, they don’t have an electric charge and can be handled. Prompt mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, cardiac massage and prolonged artificial respiration can revive a person who appears dead. If lightning strikes a group of people, treat those who appear dead first. Those with vital signs will probably recover without treatment. However, their burns and other injuries may require treatment. Except for impairment or loss of sight or hearing, recovery from lightning strikes is often complete.

Louder or more frequent thunder means lightning activity is approaching, increasing the risk for lightning injury or death. If the time delay between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder is less than 30 seconds, you are in danger. REMEMBER: If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning!!!

References: NOAA study finds fishing tops U.S. lightning death activities

Weeds Can Plague Headaches for Pond Owners

There is a plethora of aquatic vegetation that can potentially plague ponds across Alabama. Filamentous algae, duckweed, southern naiad, watershield, and several species of water lily are just a few of the weeds that come to mind. There are several other types of aquatic vegetation that can become a nuisance for pond owners across the state. The first step in dealing with aquatic vegetation is to correctly identify the species you have in your pond. Then you can take proper measures to control and/or eradicate these unwanted plants. There are several options in controlling “pond weeds”; mechanical, biological, and chemical treatments are the 3 different ways to combat unwanted vegetation.

Mechanical treatment is simply the removal of weeds by hand or with use of machinery. This is a great tool in conjunction with one of the other two methods, especially in small ponds where weeds have covered a large surface area. Rarely is mechanical removal a complete solution, due to seed, roots, or other plant particles being left in the pond, which will eventually allow the vegetation to grow again.

Biological control generally refers to the stocking of grass carp (white amur) to feed on and help control vegetation growth. Correct identification of your pond weeds will tell you whether or not grass carp will be beneficial. Some weeds in Alabama may not be controlled by grass carp, whereas others may be completely controlled using these fish. It’s also important to remember that grass carp will benefit your pond for the first 5 or so years that they are stocked. After that, the fish do not feed as heavily as they do the first few years, thus allowing vegetation to grow back.

Chemical treatment is our third treatment option and can be a very effective method for controlling pond weeds. Again, correct identification of vegetation in your pond is needed to accurately prescribe an herbicide treatment. Based on what “weed” you are dealing with, a professional will then tell you what chemical (active ingredient) you need to control said weed. Some recommendations may suggest a combination of herbicides. It is of utmost importance to ALWAYS READ THE LABEL of any herbicide, before applying. Never apply a terrestrial (land use) herbicide in an aquatic setting. Always look to purchase an herbicide that is labeled for aquatic use. There are all kinds of brands and trade names for herbicides with the same active ingredients.

When comparing products, I suggest comparing prices while also looking at the amount of active ingredient in each formula and the recommended application rate. This will allow you to figure up the “best bang for your buck”. For more information on Fish Pond Management including Aquatic weed control, please visit our webpage www.alearn.info, then click on Recreational Fishing. Through this website you can also view a list of grass carp suppliers and a list of Pond Management Consultants who can provide herbicide application.

by Jordan Graves, Regional Extension Agent, Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resource Management

Snakes in Alabama: What You Need to Know

copperhead snake-banner

Snakes are one type of wildlife that make many people anxious. But armed with some some basic information and facts, people can reduce their stress about snakes.

More than 40 species live in Alabama . Only six of these are venomous. Whether you are hunting, camping or just venturing out into nature, it is important to learn the characteristics of venomous and nonvenomous snakes so you can distinguish them from one another.

Venomous Snakes:

There are six venomous snake species that are native to Alabama. Five of these species are in the pit viper group. These include the cottonmouth, copperhead, timber rattlesnake, Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, and the pygmy rattlesnake. The sixth venomous snake, in a group by itself, is the coral snake.The pit viper group gets its name from the heat-sensing pit organ located between the eye and nostril. These pits can sense differences in temperature which helps locate warm-blooded prey.

“The venomous pit vipers may be distinguished by the large triangular head, the heavy body relative to its length, the vertical pupils, and the single row of scales on the belly below the anal scales,” said Dr. Jim Armstrong, a forestry and wildlife specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

COTTONMOUTH:

Cottonmouth snakes, also known as water moccasins, typically live around water including rivers, lakes, streams, and swampland. Young cottonmouth snakes can be identified by the lighter background with dark-brown bands, and the adults generally appear darker brown to black. These large, heavy-bodied snakes can reach 30-48 inches in length. Because the appearance of these snakes is hard to detect in the forest or woods, it is believed that some snake bites occur from individuals not seeing the snake and accidentally stepping on it.

COPPERHEAD:

These medium-sized snakes are characterized by their copper-red heads and distinctive hourglass-shaped markings. Their size averages between 2 and 3 feet. These snakes vary in color patterns, but the typical color is dark brown bands on a lighter brown background. Copperheads are more defensive if encountered at night than during the day, and will usually vibrate its tail rapidly and give off a strong, musky scent when disturbed.

TIMBER RATTLESNAKE:

The timber rattlesnake is a large, heavy-bodied snake that can be found in most of Alabama. They can grow up to more than 7 feet in length. These snakes have black and yellow patterned bodies. Their coloration makes it hard to detect them in forested areas.

EASTERN DIAMONDBACK RATTLESNAKE:

The Eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake in North America. It can grow up to 8 feet in length. These heavy-bodied snakes generally live in drier areas such as pine flatwoods, coastal scrub habitats, and sandy woodlands. These snakes are characterized by the dark-brown diamond shaped patterns that run the length of their body.

PYGMY RATTLESNAKE:

The pygmy rattlesnake is a small snake that grows a maximum length of 30 inches. Unlike other rattlesnakes, the pygmy has a rattle that is so small it can be very difficult to detect unless you’re very close. The color pattern of this snake is light-gray with dark brown-to-orange spots along the body.

CORAL SNAKE:

The coral snake is the only venomous snake in Alabama not a part of the pit viper group. These snakes have slender bodies and can grow a maximum size of 3 feet. The coral snake is brightly colored with alternating bands of red and black, separated by narrow bands of yellow. Remember red touch yellow, kill a fellow.  There are two nonvenomous snake species that have similar color patterns, but in these species the yellow bands touch black and not red. In addition, coral snakes have a black snout or nose. These snakes are only rarely seen and generally live underground in loose soils.

A bite from a venomous snake is serious and can be deadly.  It is best to avoid these snakes.  Never try to handle these snakes.

Nonvenomous Snakes:

Nonvenomous snake species in Alabama outnumber venomous species by more than 30.  The most common is the gray rat snake. They are one of the longest snakes in North America, occasionally growing up to 8 feet in length. These snakes are dark-to-light gray with darker gray or brown blotches. Typically found in forest areas, they may be found in residential areas as well. Rat snakes are good climbers so they can be found lying on tree limbs and branches.

Nonvenomous snakes are generally characterized by round pupils, smaller heads, and the double row of scales on the underside of the tail. However, the coral snake also has a double row of scales and a round pupil , so understanding the markings on snakes is important as well.

“When going into areas that snakes are likely to be found, my advice is to use your eyes and look before putting your hands or feet in places where you can’t see them well,” Armstrong said.

Unlike other wildlife species in Alabama, the snake receives the most negative attention. Some people have the misconception that snakes are aggressive and chase  people, but Armstrong said snakes are more likely to avoid people and try to escape.  He added that snakes play vital roles in the environment and can be useful in controlling rodent population.

More Resources:

4-H RiverKids Kayaking Kamps Returns July 6-8

RiverKids 2016

It’s back!!!  After much success last year, the 4-H RiverKids Kayaking Kamp returns on July 6-8th. This fun filled event is designed to introduce youth to the world of paddle sports. The half day program in Dadeville will teach water safety, how to paddle a kayak, and include a fun 2 mile float trip down Sandy Creek. Kayaks, life jackets, and shuttle service are provided. Cost is $10 for 4-H youth ages 9 to 18 (includes lunch and a t-shirt).  Registration deadline is July 1, 2016 and spots will fill up quickly.

Schedule

4-Her’s will participate in a ½ Day Camp. Date and time preference will be assigned upon received registration.

 July 6th   –    Session A   –   7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

July 6th   –    Session B   –   12 noon – 5:30 p.m.

July 7th   –    Session C   –   7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

July 7th   –    Session D   –   12 noon – 5:30 p.m.

July 8th   –    Session E   –   7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Review this Kayaking Kamp promotional flyer & agenda for more details and schedule.

A parent or guardian of each participant must complete and sign the:

Completed forms must be turned in to the Tallapoosa County  Extension Office or brought to the event. Space is limited. Contact the Tallapoosa County Extension office at 256-825-1050 to sign up or for more details.

Spotlight on Turkey Hunting

turkey hunting-banner

It’s that time of year. Hundreds of Americans come out of their winter slumber and adorn their camouflage armor. Turkey season is in full swing, and not a minute can be wasted.

Turkey hunting is an exciting sport that takes place March 15 through April 30 in most parts of Alabama. Though normally compared to deer hunting, turkey hunting is vastly different.

“There is nothing in this world like turkey hunting,” says Auburn student Vince Bonner. “No other type of hunting can give you such an adrenaline rush.”

While turkey hunting may be different from deer hunting, it is still incredibly vital to practice safe hunting in this realm as well.Spenser Bradley, a regional Alabama Extension agent in Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources Management, stresses the importance of safe hunting.

Continue Reading: Spotlight on Turkey Hunting

"Throw Away Day" – a County-wide cleanup – is Saturday, April 23rd

dump - banner

The first ever “Throw Away Day”, a Tallapoosa County-wide cleanup, is scheduled for Saturday, April 23rd.  The Tallapoosa County Commission will place dumpsters in 12 locations throughout the county.  Residents are encouraged to bring their large items, such as sofas and mattresses,  that are too big for curbside garbage cans.  There is no charge for using the dumpsters.

This effort was put in place to discourage illegal dumping which has become a big problem throughout the county.  We also hope to encourage citizens to take action and help clean up and care for our communities.  Various groups ranging from church youth groups to city wide events are planned in conjunction with the “Throw Away Day” dumpsters.  Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of the dumpsters provided and to join clean up events in their neighborhoods and communities.

Tallapoosa County is beautiful and offers many natural resources that we do not want to take for granted.  We need to keep our county clean!

Dumpster Locations:

  • District 1 – Downtown Alexander City-next to City Hall
  • District 2 – Double Bridge area on Highway 63 near mile marker 25
  • District 3 – (3 locations)-Hackneyville Community Center, New Site County Shop and New Site Volunteer Fire Department
  • District 4 – (3 locations)-Across from Siggars Grocery on Gibson Road, Camp Hill Town Hall and County Shop in Dadeville
  • District 5 – (4 locations)-Red Ridge Methodist on Highway 34, Wall Street Nutrition Center in Tallassee, Reeltown Volunteer Fire Department and Union Volunteer Fire Department

Throw Away Day image

Roadside Clean Up Locations:

  • Pearson Rd.- led by New Providence Baptist Church
  • Hackneyville- led by Hackneyville Community Club
  • New Site along Sanford Rd.- led by Rocky Creek Baptist Church RAs and GAs
  • Downtown Alex City- led by City of Alex City, PATH and Young Professionals
  • Union Fire Department- led by Tommy Abernathy
  • Camp Hill- led by the Town Council
  • Frog Eye- led by Natalie Haynes

Organizers include Middle Tallapoosa Clean Water Partnership, Tallapoosa County Cooperative Extension and John Thompson. Funding for the event is provided by the Tallapoosa County Commission, Middle Tallapoosa Clean Water Partnership, Lake Martin Resource Association and Russell Lands.

We encourage everyone to participate in this first ever county wide event. For questions regarding the dumpsters or for more information on how to join a clean up event or schedule an event in your neighborhood, please contact John Thompson at jthompson@lmra.info /  334-399-3289 or Sabrina Wood at sabrinawood@live.com / 334-429-8832, or Shane Harris, Tallapoosa County Extension, at 256-825-1050.

Spring has Sprung, Is your Pond Ready?

ponds - banner

When discussing pond management, new growth can be a positive step forward or the start of a seemingly endless nightmare. The positive growth I speak of starts with essential phytoplankton. Plankton serves as the base of the food chain, and just as importantly, if not more so, it serves as a filter of UV rays. These tiny organisms will keep direct sunlight from penetrating all the way to the pond floor. If you do not have a healthy amount of plankton to filter your sunlight, the growth you’ll start seeing will be that of dreaded pond weeds!

So, how can you tell if your pond is heading in the right direction? Test your water clarity…

There is a very simple tool known as a secchi (pronounced sek-key) disk that you can use to measure your water’s clarity. A secchi is usually a flat, circular disk that is divided equally into 4 sections (think pie pieces). Two sections are black and two sections are white, as you can see in the picture below.  You can purchase a secchi disk online or possibly through your local co-op. Another option would be to make one yourself. This is pretty easy to do and is cost effective, especially if you have the materials lying around.

How to make a secchi:

  • If you make your own, you can use a number of different materials. Scrap wood is something most people have laying around, but feel free to use whatever you can get your hands on. The secchi doesn’t have to be circular, a square one is just fine
  • You will need to paint your secchi accordingly with black and white sections for visibility purposes
  • Next you need to attach your disk to a pole or string (this should be at least 3 feet or so in length, so that you can adequately lower the secchi into the water)
  • Finally, you should measure off two points along your pole or string and mark them clearly: The first mark should be 18 inches above the disc and the other 24 inches above the disk.

How to use a secchi disk and interpret your results:

Testing clarity with a secchi can be done off the end of a dock or out of a jon boat. Be sure the test area is clear of weeds or algae, as that will disrupt your results. Also, you should complete the test without the use of polarized sunglasses, as they allow you to see further into the water than what the test is designed for. Once your disc is lowered out of sight, slowly pull it back to the surface, until it becomes visible again. If your disk becomes visible before the 24” mark has reached the surface, you will need to either add fertilizer or dye to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the pond floor. If your disk becomes visible again between the 24 and 18” marks, you are within the desired amount of clarity. If your disk does not appear until after the 18” mark has emerged, then the water is relatively dark, and you should not add fertilizer or dye until clarity improves (this may also be a sign of turbidity issues).

If you decide you need to fertilize based on your results, be sure to have an alkalinity test done first. This will tell you if your pond needs to be limed. Without the correct alkalinity your fertilizer will most likely be a waste of money. It’s also important to note that phosphorous is the limiting nutrient in most pond ecosystems. This means you’ll need a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorous than nitrogen or potassium; many pond specific fertilizers will be labeled as water soluble and will come in a 12-48-8 or 10-52-4 mixture.

For more information about Recreational Fish Pond Management or questions pertaining to the management of any other Natural Resources, contact your nearest ACES County Office or contact me directly via phone or email:

 

Jordan Graves

Piedmont Regional Extension Agent

Forestry, Wildlife & Natural Resources Management

Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Cell Phone: 334-672-4826

Email: jdg0041@aces.edu

Native Pollinator Workshop – March 4th

bumblebee on a flower

We need a healthy insect population to pollinate our plants!….  Some plants are wind pollinated (examples: grasses, conifers, and few others), but most plants with showy flowers need helpers to visit them and move pollen from the male flower parts (anther) to the female parts (stigma).  Lots of insects assist this process as they feed on the pollen and/or nectar in the flowers.

Several bees make Alabama their home.  Bumblebees are found in larger flowers due to their bulky size and are often seen working squash flowers and ornamentals such as Indica azaleas.  Mason bees like the early spring bloomers like fruit trees, mustard, and clover.  Other bees in Alabama include: squash bee, sweat bee, leaf-cutting bee, various digger bees, blueberry bee, numerous bumblebee species, and of course, the honeybee.

Have you ever wondered what you can do to help?

You can support pollinators by attracting them to your yard, an Alabama Smart Yard.  Plant a variety of plants together.  Remember that insects need help finding flowers so a big floral pit-stop makes their hunt easy. The flowers of herbs such as thyme, basil, bee balm, and rosemary all produce nectar that bees love.  Let your parsley, dill, and Cole crop veggies go to flower next spring as these are good bee pasture.  Mix flowers like coneflower, coreopsis, or any other aster family flowers into other plantings – even your vegetable garden.  Add some shrubs and trees like salvias, redbud, hollies, false indigo, and buckeye.

Consider extra caution when using insecticides.  Yes, even organic sourced insecticides may kill our beneficial insects when used incorrectly.  Think about the time of day bees are foraging.  The daylight hours when temperatures are between 70 degress oF and 95 oF is when most bees explore.  So if you need to use insecticides, dusk and later as better times.  Look for that lazy bumblebee who might sleep in a flower after a tiring day.  As a general rule, avoid flowers when applying insecticides of any kind.

Native Pollinator Workshop

Help support all pollinators by learning more about them.  Tallapoosa County Extension System will host a Native Pollinator Workshop on Friday, March 4, 2016 from 9 am until 11:30 am. Registration is only $5.00.   The workshop will be held at First Baptist Church, 178 Tallassee Street, Dadeville, AL 36853. Click here for a promotional flyer. Contact us at 256-825-1050 for more information or to register.