Purdue University professors want local residents to invite more bees into their gardens

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s Melinda M. Appold wants Indiana residents to think of their gardens as more than picturesque landscaping.

Appold and Dr. Greg Hunt, a professor of entomology at Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, are starting a bee community to encourage more Indiana residents to design bee-friendly gardens. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting on March 8.         

By designing a garden that attracts bees, Indiana residents can create long-term benefits for their community. “We want people to understand the relationship between pollinators and plants. You can choose one plant that is aesthetically beautiful but has no value to pollinators,” said Appold, an assistant professor of landscape architecture.

“Not all green plants are created equal when it comes to the pollen and nectar they provide,” Appold said. “Many of the key pollinators are not gathering pollen. Instead they are looking for the sweet, energy-giving nectar, and pollen hitchhikes to the next plant.”

The public is invited to attend an informational meeting 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (March 8) at the Daniel Turf Center, 1340 Cherry Lane, West Lafayette. The event, hosted by the Purdue Bee Hive Lab and Friends of Purdue Bee Farm, will include discussions about educational opportunities, volunteer opportunities, plant pollinatory synergy, and how they plan to build a community around healthy pollinators. Friends of the Purdue Bee Farm also will track the impact they are making by creating one single garden.

“It’s a hub for people to come together and talk about bees and their benefits, not just honeybees but those that are native to Indiana,” said Appold, explaining that honeybees are native to Europe. “We also want people to feel confident with their plant choices. There are plants native to Indiana that provide ecosystem services. Every plant has its own personality and cultural requirements.”

Bee-friendly gardens are part of a growing movement to create insect gardens. In addition to environmental benefits, Appold said, a garden buzzing with activity can provide hours of entertainment.

“I have a garden that is rich with native plants,” she said. “It’s full of really interesting activity — lots of birds and insects. It’s the plants that provide this theater. You can just sit down and watch.”

What: Informational Meeting, Friends of Purdue Bee Farm

When: Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Daniel Turf Center, 1340 Cherry Lane, West Lafayette, Ind.

Contact: Assistant Professor Melinda Appold, mappold@purdue.edu

Professor of Entomology, Dr. Greg Hunt, ghunt@purdue.edu 

Writer: Shari Finnell, sfinnell@purdue.edu, (765) 494-2722

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Darrin Pack, dpack@purdue.edu 
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