This year's Earth Day service project in Dublin may create a bit of a buzz.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 21, Dublin's horticulture team will lead a public planting of a pollinator garden at the M.L. "Red" Trabue Nature Reserve, 6566 Post Road.

The plantings will attract such pollinators as butterflies and honeybees.

The city of Dublin has pollinator gardens at Darree Fields, Coffman Park and in another section of the Trabue reserve, said Rhonda White, assistant horticulturist with the city of Dublin.

The Earth Day planting will be an example to residents showing that they can plant a pollinator garden in their backyards and make them look attractive, White said.

"We're seeing less and less of the butterflies and bees," White said, attributing the decrease to urbanization.

Beekeeper surveys done by the University of Maryland since 2007 have found that on average beekeepers lose 30 to 50 percent of their colonies annually, said Reed Johnson, assistant professor in the Ohio State University's Department of Entomology.

"There's a lot of problems, and they're all kind of overlapping and intersecting," Johnson said.

First, as more land is converted into corn fields, the flowers and landscaping available to bees has decreased, Johnson said. Aggressive control of weeds, which are food for bees, hasn't helped either.

Additionally, the varroa mite, introduced to the U.S. in the late 1980s, sucks honeybees' blood but also transmits viruses, Johnson said.

The introduction of the mite into U.S. honeybee populations is another reason for an increase in bee losses over the last decade.

"You can help the bees by doing less," Johnson said.

Mowing lawns less frequently, Johnson said, can help bees, as can being more tolerant of such weeds as clover and dandelion, which are excellent nectar sources.

Those using insecticides also should make sure they are not applying them to flowers frequented by bees, Johnson said.

Planting flowers bees can use also helps, Johnson said. Highly bred flowers with complex blooms are difficult for bees to access.

Instead, mint, bean, pea and aster flowers are better choices.

A list of flowers good for honeybees is available at u.osu.edu/beelab.

Earth Day events

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio also will hold a household hazardous waste collection day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21 at Ashland, 5200 Blazer Parkway.

The city of Dublin will recognize Arbor Day from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. April 21 at the pavilion in Amberleigh Community Park, 4715 Vista Ridge. Free tree seedlings will be available for Amberleigh neighborhood residents.

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@ThisWeekSarah