20160930 End of Summer pollinators …

Most of the butterflies have either moved south or deposited eggs to overwinter in bark or detritus so  most of the pollination is being done by bees and flies …

I don’t think that these milkweed bugs are pollinators but they are very common in early September:

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So are these dragonflies munching on smaller flies along roadside ditches.

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Wasp and milkweed bug on goldenrods:

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These two seem to be the same specie  …

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Bumblebee coming in for a landing on the last  of the wild roses …

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No bug here but the last of the portulacae.   My late mom used to have a great display of them in her planters bordering the patio on the family home in the Okanagan.

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Bee harvesting nectar from a goldenrod.

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Very small butterfly/moth on the forest floor …

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Crab spider waiting in ambush for a visitor to the center of this fall aster.

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Sucking nectar out of the last of this year’s crop of Oxeye daisies.

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Late butterfly …

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Wasp on cultivated goatsbeard blooms.

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Same beastie, good ID photographs…

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Fly (?) on fall asters…

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Another dragonfly …

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Earlier I sent an email to some friends on the subject of pollination.  Here is some of it:

I’ve had difficulties connecting to the internet due to the effects of recent power outages on my wireless Bell hub.  Technology is great as long as it works.  So I am way behind on my emails and may have lost some.  I am also behind on my blog, speaking of which ….

Over the summer I became  quite  intrigued with the wide variety of bees, hoverflies, wasp, beetles, butterflies and moths that visit our wildflowers in great numbers.   On days with little or no wind some were photographed.  Although I cannot be quantitative I suspect that we had huge hatches of Skippers and small hatches of  Monarchs   The former suspicion may result from the use of a better lens with which to see them.  The latter might be due to changes in migration due to habitat destruction including bad weather in Mexico.

This morning while checking with my friends on DPR I came across this: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/58330908 , a photo report of Mike’s activities building nests for solitary bees in the UK. 

Mike links to this very informative tract on solitary bees in England:  http://www.moraybeedinosaurs.co.uk/solitary.html

In Northern Ontario, Susan Chan has been trying to help us understand and to support the roles of solitary bees and bumble bees.

http://northernhoot.com/bee-effect-native-pollinators-northern-ontario/
“Honey bees are not natural to our environment. They are an agricultural bee,” she said. “Even though a honey bee is a pollinator they were brought over here by colonizers for the purposes of honey and bees wax.”

Susan explained that there are two types of bees native to Ontario- the bumblebee and the solitary bee.

“Bumblebees live in very small colonies that don’t last from year to year and they make a small amount of honey for their day to day consumption. The largest group of native bees are solitary bees. One bee lives in a nest and raises a few offspring and they don’t make honey. Nectar and pollen are their food source.”
.

“Long grasses are attractive to bumblebees that may choose to nest in matted patches of grass. Bumblebees also nest in abandoned rodent burrows. Solitary bees have a preference for two natural habitats. Some build their nests in tunnels in the ground so one thing we caution farmers who want natural pollinators is to not till their land deeper than six inches. Solitary bees also lay their eggs in hollow stems. You can actually buy this type of nest or make them but my favourite way to create this habitat for native pollinators is by planting plants that produce hollow stems. Sumac, elderberry, raspberry and blackberry all have hollow stems. As the plant gets older the stems die back and bees can nest in those stems.”

Susan Chan has a very nice handbook in downloadable .pdf format here:  http://www.feedthebees.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/A-Landowners-Guide-to-Conserving-Native-Pollinators-in-Ontario.pdf  She includes a bunch of links to help ID the various pollinators that flit about in our gardens, fields and forests.

Here is a useful downloadable Guide to Toronto’s Pollinators:       http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/downloads/Pollinator_Guide_5pg.pdf

Finally, I suspect that I’ll be using this resource a lot next summer when I will get much more serious about photographing our various pollinators:
http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/bee-identification.html

I think that you’ll be able to copy and paste the links above into your browser window if you are interesting in following up on those insects which are so vital to the planet’s food web.

 

t

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