Osmia: Powerhouse Pollinators

The blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria) is a fast efficient native pollinator of early spring flowers. In the apple orchard 250 to 300 of these powerhouse pollinators can do the equivalent work of 90,000 (two hives) honey bees.  Part of this success is due to their ability to visit more flowers per minute and to transfer pollen more effectively.  It is also helpful that some … Continue reading Osmia: Powerhouse Pollinators

Pussytoes: An Inconspicuous Little Plant

Ladies’ tabacco, Plantain-leaved everlasting, Plantain-leaved pussytoes, Pussytoes are common names for Antennaria plantaginifolia, an inconspicuous little plant in the Aster family.  It thrives in full sun and is perfectly suited for poor dry rocky soils.  Paddle shaped leaves are reminiscent of the common plantain (Plantago major) except they are hairy  leaves with three to five parallel veins.  The flower itself stands no higher than 6” … Continue reading Pussytoes: An Inconspicuous Little Plant

Native North American Honey Bees?

The European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) arrived in the Americas aboard European ships around 1622. In a way this was a homecoming, America had regained her long lost honey bees. It has always been assumed that honey bees are not native to North America until a recent discovery found a single fossil of a native North American honey bee in the Stewart Valley basin in … Continue reading Native North American Honey Bees?

A Garden of Specialists

On a recent August morning, Native Beeology founder, Tim Stanley and the YMCA Kingston Farm Project staff and interns gathered together to explore the urban garden and see what bees were busy at work pollinating the plants in blossom. The mission of the Kingston YMCA is to educate and empower young people and their families in the City of Kingston by directly engaging them in … Continue reading A Garden of Specialists

The Pollinators of Stony Kill Farm

Suzanne, Elizabeth and Wilhelmina burst out of the manor house into the wide open spaces of Stony Kill Farm. The three sisters ran down the farm lane with intentions to play hide and seek in the barn but suddenly they spot an yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly fluttering in the hayfields. They look at each other and in silent accord jump with leap and bounds through … Continue reading The Pollinators of Stony Kill Farm

The Amazing Milkweed

The common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) found growing in abandoned farm fields and along roadside edges is quickly dismissed as a “weed”. The milkweed is so much more than an unwanted plant growing in unwanted places. This underrated native herbaceous perennial produces beautiful sweet smelling flowers that makes it a pollinator favorite and it is also the host plant of the Monarch butterfly caterpillar. The common … Continue reading The Amazing Milkweed

The Serviceberry: A Sign Post of Spring

Winter in the North is long and cold forcing the frost to penetrate deep, freezing the ground solid as a rock. The serviceberry, a small flower bearing tree, signals the ground has thawed, a sign post to people it was time to bury their loved ones that had died the previous winter. Funeral services commenced with springs advent and the tree was aptly named the … Continue reading The Serviceberry: A Sign Post of Spring

The Blooming of the Bloodroot

Early spring heralds the blooming of woodland flowers and the awakening of bees. Most native bees are solitary and overwinter either in cocoons or as dormant adults. Even some butterflies, such as the mourning cloak, overwinter as adults. The warm rays of the sun lull the bees from their slumber coaxing them to seek out sustenance from the emerging spring ephemerals that bloom on the … Continue reading The Blooming of the Bloodroot

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bees

…From Bee Expert Tim Stanley  (An Student Conservation Association, SCA, Interview), 2016 When residents of New York’s Hudson Valley want to know something about bees, Tim Stanley is thier go-to-guy.  He’s a beekeeper, and a veritable expert on the region’s wild bees (which, as you’ll learn, differ substantiallly from the bees we raise for honey). We recently interviewed him in an attempt to find out … Continue reading Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bees