Redington Natural Resource Conservation District
Native Bee Houses
Native Bee Houses
Native bees are a hidden treasure. From alpine meadows in the national forests of the Rocky Mountains to the Sonoran Desert in the Coronado National Forest in Arizona and from the boreal forests of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska to the Ocala National Forest in Florida, bees can be found anywhere in North America, where flowers bloom. From forests to farms, from cities to wildlands, there are 4,000 native bee species in the United States, from the tiny Perdita minima to large carpenter bees.
Helping native bees is essential to our continued survival, health, and well-being. These animals benefit us all because of the invaluable ecosystem services they provide to the environment and to our farms, forests, and gardens. Not only do they pollinate most of our flowering plants, their bodies feed other wildlife and their ground-nesting behaviors aerate and enrich soils. They enrich and sustain our lives. The observation of native bees can become a lifelong pastime and pleasure. Become involved. Observe bees with close focusing binoculars; plant a small pollinator garden; or help a neighbor, student, or family member drill small holes in scrap lumber to create a bee house. Join a pollinator and plant-friendly organization to learn more about pollinators and their flowers, like the Pollinator Partnership (www.pollinator. org). Become a pollinator observer as a citizen scientist and report your observations. Some of our bees are declining, and your findings are invaluable to understanding the big picture. Most importantly, get outdoors with your children and experience the amazing natural and urban habitats that we share with pollinators and flowering plants. Do your share to make sure that this precious legacy continues.
Wildlife Escape Ramp
Wildlife Escape Ramp
In July 2006 a workshop was held in the District to provide hands-on guidance for constructing wildlife escape ramps. Attendees learned about proper construction and installation of wildlife ramps. Escape ramps provide a safe avenue for bats, birds, rodents, and other animals to climb from open tanks and troughs to avoid drowning.
Wildlife escape ramps can be easily produced at a very low cost. They can be built from sheets of expanded metal and cut in squares to any desired size. The squares are then easily bent into a wedge shape. The metal ramps are painted for rust protection and ready for installation. They are bolted or otherwise secured to the lip of any tank or trough. Anyone interested in these escape ramps can stop by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Willcox to view a completed ramp. Proper design should allow for wildlife swimming in any direction in a tank to contact the ramp and climb out. It is important that any ramp be secured against a side wall on the water facility. This ensures animals will come in contact with the ramp and not swim under or around it. The expanded metal ramps can also be designed and installed to provide float protection. Ranchers are encouraged to provide year round water in troughs for wildlife species. This is especially important during times of drought. Some wildlife species need daily water to survive, particularly in the summer months. Bats and birds are an important part of the environment. They help with insect control and pollination of many plant species.
The NRCS requires installation of wildlife escape ramps in all newly constructed open storage tanks and livestock drinking troughs. However, it is a good idea for ranchers to install ramps in all their watering facilities. This helps to protect any wildlife species that may find its way inside a tank or trough. It also safeguards water sources from being fouled from dead, decaying animals. This helps to keep waters clean and safe for use by livestock and wildlife.
In 2009, the Redington NRCD and Conservation Education Center sponsored a series of classes on water harvesting. Classes were conducted by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. A financial contribution was made by the District to help offset tuition costs for local individuals who wanted to participate in the program
Why build a bat house you might ask. Bats are part of an healthy environment, however, many bat species are in decline because of loss of natural roosts, among other things. You can help by putting up a bat house. According to Bat Conservation International (BCI), just one little brown myotis can catch a thousand or more mosquito-sized insects in an hour. They also can be of assistance in reducing garden pests. Cucumber and June beetles, stinkbugs, leafhoppers, cutworm and corn earworm moths are just a few of the many insects consumed by bats.