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Pollinator Habitats

FS Companies have set aside ground to plant over 65 habitat havens for bees throughout the Midwest. These plots are planted with Green Yard™ Honey Bee Wildflower Mix, donated by GROWMARK Inc., which is a combination of annual and perennial flowers that provide nectar and pollen to honey bees.

This wildflower seed mixture includes specific favorites of honey bees and provides forage all season long. Up to 19 different flowers recommended by honey bee keepers are found in the mix, including Purple Coneflower, China Aster, Basil, Corn Poppy and Cape Forget-me-Not, among others.

The FS System played host to nearly 25 acres of honeybee habitat in the first year of this program. Other important agriculture pollinators, native to the Midwest, also benefit from the plots, including Syrphid flies, hummingbird moths, leatherwing beetles and bees such as bumble, mason, polyester, squash, digger and others.


Monarch Butterflies


Monarch (Danaus plexippus) populations have been rapidly declining in North America since 1997. From 1999 through 2012 in the Midwestern United States, there was a 64% decrease in the amount of milkweed available and an 88% decline in the number of monarchs present. While there have been some years of increases, overall the number of monarchs is decreasing. 

Female monarchs usually lay their eggs only on milkweed plants. Monarch larvae only eat milkweed plants. If there is no milkweed, there will be no monarchs. Monarchs find milkweeds by using visual and chemical cues. 

What are milkweeds? They are perennial, herbaceous plants. Most have leaves that are paired on the stem or in whorls of four on the stem. Their sap is white and milky. Milkweed plants contain cardiac glycosides. These chemicals are poisonous and affect birds and mammals. Many grazing mammals will not eat milkweeds. The toxicity of milkweeds varies by species, though, and tends to be greater in milkweeds in the southern United States. A few animal species have adapted to milkweeds and thrive on them. 

Monarch butterfly caterpillar eating milkweed - Danaus plexippusMonarch larvae can eat nothing else. The poisons accumulate in the body of the larval monarchs and are retained by the monarch in its transformation to the adult. They make monarchs unpalatable to many predators.

Please consider designating a small area to keep and maintain, or start new growth, of milkweed plants to help the monarch population exist and grow. 

               Did you Know?? A group of monarchs is called a congregation.

Source: IL DNR/Stacy Markey

Gold Star FS Pollinator Habitats

In the United States, 1/3 of all agricultural outputs depend on pollinators. Pollinators play a vital role in the production of healthy crops. Gold Star FS is a proud supporter of providing a valued and protected habitat for pollinators by planting pollinator-friendly flowers. Company-wide we have 5 designated plots to help promote and sustain the pollinator population. At 2 of these locations, we have placed honey bee hives. The bees have been working hard collecting pollen and building their own populations within the hives.

Did you know:
  • There are 4,000 bee species in the U.S.
  • Honey bees visit 5 million flowers to make 1 pint of honey
  • To produce 150 pounds of honey, bees cover a distance equal to 13 trips to the moon and back
  • Honeybees dance! When a bee has found food, it will return to the hive and let other bees know where the food is. If the nectar or pollen is close by, the bee will do a round dance. If it is far away, the bee will do a waggle dance to describe how far away the food is, and in what direction.

If you have interest in planting your own pollinator habitat, we have special mixtures of flower seed that we sell in 1 pound packages. Contact your local Gold Star FS office to place your order.

camb plot 6.11.19...

Camb Bee Plot 2018 june


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