October 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm (Bumble Bee, Milkweed, Native Seed Saving, Native Tall Grasses, Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden, Prairie)
Tags: Birds foot trefoil, Common milkweed, Native Bees, Native bumblebees, Native grass seed, Photography, Prairie, Showy asters, Staff Goldenrod, Tall bluestem, Yellow Sulphur Butterfly
A prairie of Tall Bluestem Native Grass.
Sunday, September 26, I stopped at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat to pick tall bluestem seed for a seed saving project. We want to offer online prairie friends the opportunity to buy a little of our native grass seed. We don’t sell seed by the pound or even by the ounce for that matter. When we ship common milkweed seed, the package contains 20-30 seeds. Tomorrow I will mail milkweed seed to Florida and Virginia. People are not greedy. They just want to help the butterfly by planting the host plant for the monarch.
As I strolled leisurely through the habitat, I saw at least a dozen yellow sulphur butterflies flitting about gathering nectar from periwinkle showy asters and yellow blooming birds foot trefoil. Among the stiff and showy goldenrod, I saw many species of native bees sipping nectar.
Summer may be over but the habitat is still alive with the activity of smaller species such as the insects which I saw in the warm sun enjoying the last days of blooming wildflowers. Soon a colder freeze will come and all life will go dormant to wait out the long cold winter.
I am enjoying these last few days of documenting and photographing the littlest of species that make our natural world complete.
May 23, 2010 at 1:09 am (Bombus affinis, Bombus ternarius, Bumble Bee, Dandelion, Native Bees, Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden, Rusty-patched bumblebee, Shell Lake, Wisconsin, Xerces Society)
Tags: Bombus affinis, Bombus ternarius, Bumble Bee, Monarch Butterfly Habitat, native wildflower and butterfly garden, queen bumble bee, Xerces Cociety for Invertebrate Conservation
One of my favorite things is the bumble bee and here is her story.
Bombus ternarius from back
On April 14, I was walking through the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA, and thought I saw a Bombus affinis. This bumble bee is in decline. Even though the bumble could be located in Wisconsin, Washburn County is not its home. You can imagine how excited I became when I saw what I thought was the rusty patch bumble bee. I went scrambling into my purse for the iPhone and took some photos while the bumble bee flew happily from one dandelion flower to another gathering pollen.
On April 25, I emailed Jennifer Hopwood, Midwest Pollinator Outreach Coordinator at Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. She identified my bumble as Bombus ternarius. According to Jennifer, this species has orange rusty hair bands on the 2nd and 3rd segments, and then another yellow band on the 4th segment. This bee is the cousin of the rusty-patched bumble bee.
Jennifer says, “The rusty patch bumblebee has yellow hairs on the first segment, and then a rusty patch in the middle of the second segment, with yellow hairs on either side of the orange patch. She suggested that it was likely a queen bumble bee and that she will go on to produce 100+ bumble bees this year. I hope many of the queen’s offsprings will make their home this summer at the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden.
Bombus ternarius with yellow band after rusty hair bands
Let’s do all we can to plant nectar sources for the pollinators. Let me know your bumble bee stories.
Be happy Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.
Bombus ternarius front view
April 11, 2010 at 2:24 am (Bumble Bee, Fritillary butterfly, host plants, Meadow fritillary butterfly, Viola, violet plant, Xerces Society)
Tags: host plants, Meadow fritillary butterfly, Rusty-patched bumblebee, Viola, violet, Washburn County, Wisconsin
April 10, 2010 – I was so surprised to see a meadow fritillary butterfly and what I think may be a rusty-patched bumblebee. My neighbor Bobbie and her dog Bootsie were sitting outside and watching the nature show. Bobbie said, “Bootsie was barking at the bumblebee earlier.” She pointed out the futterbys. Check out Larry Webber’s Website at http://wisconsinbutterflies.org/butterfly/species/70-meadow-fritillary to learn more about the meadow fritillary.
North of Mount Morris, Waushara Co., WI, August 21, 2002 copyright Wisconsin Butterflies Organization
This is the earliest I have ever seen a butterfly outside of the mourning cloak that was seen in March and is the first butterfly to show itself after the snows.
Bumblebees are another passion of mine. The rusty-patched bumblebee is in decline. I think this is the species I may have seen today because it had a rusty band around its middle.
Xerces Society rusty-patched bumblebee
According to Xerces Society this species of bumblebee though found in the Midwest is not supposed to be in Washburn County.
I feel that I am on a treasure hunt because I want to not only document this bumblebee species in Washburn County. I hope at least I am fortunate enough to photograph it and other bumbles in 2010.
I did notice that viola (violet plant) grew as a ground cover beneath the nonflowering lilac.
violets growing under trees in Minong, Wisconsin
The fritillary host plant is the viola. The caterpillars overwinter and emerge as butterflies in the spring. It was near 60 degrees Fahrenheit today and perhaps the butterfly had recently emerged as a butterfly.
Think spring Insectamonarca friends and be happy where ever you are.
April 5, 2010 at 10:48 pm (Brighter Planet, Bumble Bee, Climate change, Community gardens, Container Gardens, Environment, Grant, Happy Tonics, Mary Ellen Ryall, Monarch butterfly, Monarch Butterfly Habitat, Monarch Butterfly Host Plant, Native Bees, Native Habitat, Prairie, Shell Lake)
Tags: biodiversity, Brighter Planet, bumblebee, Community gardens, conflower, Environment, Grant, Happy Tonics, Monarch butterfly, Native Crops, organic gardening, VOTE
Happy Tonics has been selected again as a candidate for the April 1 – 15 VOTING PERIOD with Brighter Planet. Our Grant Proposal Native Habitats and Community Gardens in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, needs your VOTE at
We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Environmental Education Organization and Public Charity. Officers and board work for free.
Please take a minute to REGISTER on BRIGHTER PLANET and VOTE for our Grant Proposal. Thank you for helping us create a world of beauty for today and the future.
Native Bumblebees on coneflower
Our work is dedicated to helping the littlest of species the pollinating butterflies and native bees that need our help. We grow native habitat and crops to promote biodiversity which pollinators depend upon.
January 31, 2010 at 4:07 pm (Agriculture, Brighter Planet, Bumble Bee, Climate change, Community gardens, Environment, Food Safety, Grant, Happy Tonics, Honey Bees, Monarch butterfly, Monarch Butterfly Habitat, National Geographic, Native Bees, Soil, Sustainable Agriculture)
Tags: Bumble Bee, Climate change, Community gardens, Happy Tonics, Insects, local food supply, Mary Ellen Ryall, Monarch butterfly, Native Bees, Native Crops, Native Wildflowers, organic gardening
Please take a minute to REGISTER AND VOTE at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100
Happy Tonics needs your VOTE to help us do our work. Officers and Board Members give of their time to educate and implement programs to adapt to Climate Change by promoting Sustainability of Native Plants, Monarch Butterfly and other pollinator habitat. Our mission is: Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly and Food Safety Issues.
Native bumble bee on autumn sedum
small square foot garden
We are a small grassroots nonprofit that needs your help to WIN our Climate Change Native Habitat and Community Garden Shell Lake grant proposal.
This is not Happy Tonics first attempt to bring Adapting to Climate Change into national awareness.
We were honored to participate in the Green Effect grant process with National Geographic sponsored by Sun Chips in 2009. Although other worthy causes won, we believe that each of us must do our part to bring the message of adapting to climate change home. (National Geographic, Green Effect Winning Ideas for a Better World, November 2009, insert after pg. 6.)
Plant native wildflowers for drought conditions
Won’t you help us now? Please SIGN UP AND VOTE at http://brighterplanet.com/project_fund_projects/100
January 12, 2010 at 5:33 pm (Bumble Bee, Honey Bees, Mary Ellen Ryall, Meadow, Monarch butterfly, Native Bees, New York City, Prairie)
Tags: Damian Vraniak, Dennis VanEngelsdorp, Meadow, Monarch butterfly, Native Bees, New York City, Remnant Native Tall Grass Prairie
Blazing star growing in Damian Vraniak's praire in Springbrook, WI, USA.
Good news! New York City is turning heads. Here’s a an article about an old railroad bed that is now a garden. Bravo!
Happy Tonics did the same thing in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, USA. We created a Monarch Butterfly Habitat, a restored remnant native tall grass prairie, where once buffalo roamed and tall grasses grew. The habitat is alongside of an old railroad bed on a narrow strip of land, on one half acre. The railroad bed is now a trail for foot travel, bicycle and horses.
Dennis Van Engelsdorp spoke about the importance of helping the pollinators especially honey and native bees including the beloved bumble bee. He suggests letting meadows grow. You can view the video on our Blog re: A Plea for Bees.
Let’s get beyond the written world. I would love to hear from you and learn what you are doing right now to help Green Up your corner of the world. Let’s turn the abandoned wasteland into something beautiful as a Pay it Forward act of kindness for generations to come.