National Pollinator Week

What can you do to help our birds, bees and butterflies?  Can you plant some milkweed or other native plants? Can you become aware and reduce the chemicals you use? Can you learn about neonicotinoids and be sure you never purchase plants that have been treated with them? For your information, neonicotinoids have recently been banned from use by the European Union.

Yesterday I had a mourning cloak, a painted lady, a red admiral, hummingbirds, and monarch caterpillars in my yard.  Milkweed and native plants make a big difference for pollinators. I am not a fan of lists because experience is better, but here are some native plant lists to get you started: https://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/About  and from Audubon

Planting purple cone flowers, bee balm, black-eyed Susan and milkweed are easy ways to get started. After years of trying to get milkweed to grow, I now have swamp milkweed everywhere. It has reseeded itself and thrives in my yard. Also, common milkweed and butterfly weed have sprouted up, but only a few monarch butterflies. The few monarch butterflies have a big job ahead of them, and I am still hopeful we can get their numbers to improve! If everyone does a small part, it can make a big difference!

Below is a video from PBS about monarch caterpillars, enjoy!

 

North Land Butterflies/Superior Views

wpid-20150913_135245.jpg

Painted Lady
Painted Lady

Look carefully and you might see a new butterfly. It has been exciting to have eggs and monarch caterpillars on my swamp milkweed, and painted lady caterpillars on pearly everlasting plants.

Eyed-Brown
Eyed-Brown

In the past month I have been able to identify some new north land caterpillars and butterflies. Enjoy these pictures, but it is better to see the real thing rather than a picture!  Get outside and observe!

Monarch Caterpillars
Monarch Caterpillars
Painted Lady eggs and caterpillars on the pearly everlasting
Painted Lady eggs and caterpillars on the pearly everlasting
Two Atlantis Fritillary on bee balm
Two Atlantis Fritillary on bee balm
Grey Comma, a dull name for a butterfly  beauty
Grey Comma, a dull name for a butterfly beauty
Common Wood-nymph
Common Wood-nymph(wikepedia)

 

 

Exciting New Program for Monarch Butterflies

Monarch caterpillar in my yard last year
Monarch caterpillar in my yard last year

This week I had one monarch butterfly checking out butterfly weed in my Minneapolis yard. Last week I spotted one monarch in Northern Wisconsin. It is sad that we get excited counting our famous butterflies in the quantities of one.wpid-wp-1409341499490.jpeg

Hopefully, a new program by announced by the White House will help get our monarch butterflies back on track. See article: http://www.startribune.com/calling-all-milkweed-federal-pollinator-plan-needs-a-billion-plants-for-monarchs/306383591/

We can all help:

1. Plant milkweed. Most garden stores still do not carry milkweed. Seeds are available, but not the best option.  I transplant plants from friends gardens.  Ask major garden stores to carry milkweed plants.

2 Please do not use Roundup or neonicotinoids, and always ask if the plants you purchase have been treated with neonicotinoids.

3. Inform yourself on host plants for butterflies http://www.ecosystemgardening.com/host-plants-for-butterflies.html

4. Never pick off fuzz or little spots on plants.  These could be eggs

chrysallis in my yard last year, turned into the monarch above.
chrysalis in my yard last year, turned into the monarch above.