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Korntheuer to lead presentation on local pollinators

The North Central Senior Center will be hosting an all-ages-welcome presentation Wednesday at 11 a.m. on local pollinator species and what people can do to make sure their population remains sustainable and healthy.

The presentation, given by Emma Korntheuer of the Hill County Conservation District, will cover things like habitat creation for local species, particularly native bees.

Korntheuer said pollinator populations are having a hard time across the U.S., but Montana‚’s pollinator populations are among the most understudied in the nation, so it’s actually hard to say how good or bad things are for them.

She said a researcher at Montana State University is in the midst of a 15-year study of Montana pollinator populations, but this in-depth study is the first of its kind in the state.

She said central and north-central Montana are especially lacking in data and study, so much of the presentation will be based on her own experience as someone who observes and documents local species with the help of professional researchers.

She said she takes pictures of bees around the area in an effort to catalog their behavior — and for fun — and in the process was the first to observe a species that wasn’t previously known to be a pollinator.

Korntheuer said pollinators, especially bees, are incredibly important to ecosystems and the conservation district is trying to encourage land- and home-owners to help create and improve habitats for the insects, which is why they’ve started giving out free wildflower seeds.

She said the biggest things people can do for pollinators is create food resources, by doing things like planting flowers with long bloom periods, and being mindful not to disturb pollinator’s nests, particularly ground-dwelling bees.

She said most species of native bees live in the ground, but they may be hard to spot if people aren’t looking for them.

Unlike yellowjackets, Korntheuer said, which tend to live in large high-activity homes full of colony members, most bees are solitary, having small low-activity homes in the ground with only one female bee taking care of its eggs.

The presentation is open to all ages, she said.


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