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The Revolutionary Pollinator Garden

When Europeans first sailed across the ocean they started a revolution that would change the botanical nature of North America. In their cargo holds colonists brought seeds from a pharmaceutical cornucopia of plants that would mend and heal and over time many of these plants escaped from the domestic gardens into the wild. Some of these powerful medicinals, such as dandelion and plantain, would become … Continue reading The Revolutionary Pollinator Garden

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Pollinators are Celebrating at College Hill Park

Pollinators are celebrating at a revitalized garden at College Hill Park in Poughkeepsie, NY. The park is situated in the center of an urban landscape and on top the highest point in the city a most curious Parthenon like structure, known at the “Shelter”, stands with grand views of the Hudson Valley. Down the hill from this structure built in 1935 is the Clarence Lown … Continue reading Pollinators are Celebrating at College Hill Park

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Digger Bees and the Beardtongue

The foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) is an early summer favorite of the fast flying and long tongued digger bees (Anthophora spp.). This bee is easier to hear than to see, producing a loud buzzing noise as it zigs, zags and zips among the white blossoms. The best chance to get a good glimpse of this honey bee sized insect is when they pause to hover … Continue reading Digger Bees and the Beardtongue

Large Carpenter Bee

The Industrious Carpenter Bee

The fortunate female carpenter bee reuses the maternal nesting chamber and often shares the same hole with her sisters to create tunnels within tunnels. Others set out on their own seeking soft dry wood to begin their life’s work. One late May day, while sitting on my porch, I observed as one such bee set to work marking out a spot. Using her power mandibles … Continue reading The Industrious Carpenter Bee

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The Perfect Lawn for Pollinators

The perfect lawn is the imperfect lawn.  The perfect lawn is rugged and natural in appearance and to the untrained eye, aka the average homeowner, would be condemned as the eyesore of the neighborhood. It is a lawn that defies cultural norms but can be aesthetically pleasing.  It has wild edges where shrubs and wildflowers seduce pollinators with sweet smells and bright colors. Unkempt corners, … Continue reading The Perfect Lawn for Pollinators

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Bees Help Strawberries Reach Their Potential

Nothing says summer like the first juicy sweet strawberry of the season.   Strawberries self pollinate and are not dependent on pollinators for fertilization. BUT early summer pollinators, most notably bees ensure the berry will attain perfection. The fruit of insect pollinated flowers are not only larger and have less deformities but also firmer, with a shelf life lasting an additional 12 hours. These few … Continue reading Bees Help Strawberries Reach Their Potential

Pickerel Bee on Pickerel Flower

Spotlight on Dufourea novaeangliae, the Pickerel Bee

On a recent canoe trip to the Adirondacks, a steady rain had passed over and the sun peeked through the clouds illuminating the aquatic vegetation. I took a moment to see if any pollinators were visiting the white water lily (Nymphaea odorata) and after seeing no activity I wondered who the might pollinate such an ornate flower. Though bees may visit them, beetles are the … Continue reading Spotlight on Dufourea novaeangliae, the Pickerel Bee

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Spring Flowers and Wild Bees of “Slabsides”

It is hard to imagine a more fitting place to explore and observe nature than at the woodland retreat of, American naturalist, John Burroughs.   Today’s outdoor enthusiast can follow in his footsteps and sit on the porch of his rustic home called, Slabsides situated on a rocky crag overlooking Celery Swamp.    This 200 acre oasis is located in the Black Creek watershed on … Continue reading Spring Flowers and Wild Bees of “Slabsides”

Northern Amber Bumble bee on Aster

Bumble Bees Suffer from Climate Change

It is December 24th and I am listening to spring peepers chirp on this extremely mild and wet day in the Hudson Valley! I am not sure if this is the earliest I’ve ever heard them or the latest, regardless I’m sure it is a rare event for the phenological records of the region. According to the calendar, winter is here but no significant cold … Continue reading Bumble Bees Suffer from Climate Change