Gardening and butterflies

todancewithwolves(Z9 CA)July 22, 2011

Annette, I haven't seen many butterflies in our area the past two years. I've seen an occasional Tiger Swallowtail, but thats about it. I wonder if the spraying for WNV has played a roll in the decline?

There has been a few skippers that play around me when I'm deadheading flowers. They are quite playful and will follow people around the garden. I enjoy the skippers very much.

I am happy to say I have lots of bee visitors! All different kinds, even honey bee's. Saw a couple this morning rolling with shear bliss on the Matilija poppy stamens.

I typically see the Monarch migration around mid-August. My garden sits patiently with lots of host plants and nectar sources .... keeping my fingers crossed that I see some action this year.

.... everyone please join in and tell me about your garden visitors :-)


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I've seen quite a few butterflies around my yard this year,as well as hummers.Skippers i see all the time,but we've had several monarchs on the butterfly bushes,dahlias etc.Bees are what we aren't seeing a lot of,and when we do a lot of them are belly side up in the driveway,but not before they drop poop all over my car.

We also have an abundance of blue belly lizards,love watching them do their thing.Sometimes when i'm out watering i'll turn the hose to a fine ,gentle spray just so i can watch the hummers play in it.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 4:37PM
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Great spangled fritillaries, monarchs (a few), skippers, bumblebees, the ruby-throated hummingbird and the native birds coming in to the birdbaths & feeders. Butterfly bushes are just beginning to bloom so there should be a lot more activity in the weeks ahead. My neighbor is a beekeeper so I often see the honeybees drink from my birdbath.

I've been growing & planting butterfly-attracting perennials the past few years to provide nectar sources. There's several native milkweed plants that come up every year that either my mother or her neighbor planted when my kids were little.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 5:02PM
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What are skippers? I take it hummers are hummingbirds? We don't have those nicknames as much, in our area, at least not that I've heard :)

I've seen a few tiger swallowtails (my favorite) and some cabbage moths (I think) an occasional little blue moth (very cute) and lots of bumblebees. Not a lot of yellow jackets so far, and the dragonflies will be up from the creek, later this summer.

I also saw a hummingbird/bee, which turned out to be called a bee/fly, I believe. Here are some pictures from the Internet, but the bee fly is so small (about the size of a house fly) that I couldn't get a good shot with my camera. They're a type of fly that hover like hummingbirds, gather nectar in the same manner...and look like a bee, so predators leave them alone. Very cool!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 5:47PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I haven't seen a honey bee this spring or summer, probably see them in the fall and only then because some bee keeper has brought his hives in for the winter. We do have lots of bumble bees and a few other bees I haven't identified. The last couple of years we have been swamped with paper wasps, thank god they aren't aggressive but even they seem to be absent this year. The houses we put up for the mason bees are full so they seem to be doing ok.

It's the absence of swallowtail butterflies that's so disappointing, we used to have lots of these, even the cabbage guys seem to be absent this year. The only butterflies I can properly identify are swallowtails (so far one this year) and the Lorquin's Admiral we had visit a couple of years back. Several years ago there was a little white guy, spotted and laced but couldn't get a good pic and there was some tiny blues and another tiny orangey guy but even those don't seem to be around anymore. We have never had the Monarchs here, we're out of their range. We've had such a cool wet year we'll probably not have many yellow jackets, that's a good thing :).
Our city has just put a ban on the use of pesticides so hopefully we'll see more of these beauties in the future.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 6:21PM
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Earlier in the season there were lots of bumblebees and honeybees but now there are lots and lots of strange wasps and hornets pollinating, along with with flies (they seem to love daisies). Plenty of those white moths/butterflies during the day, (what are they?!?). Some monarchs and other random butterflies also. Also plenty of dragonflies around!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 6:26PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

... How could I forget the hummingbirds they're getting more of our sugar than we are. The last couple of years we've been feeding Anna's, which are here all winter now, climate change? The Rufus are back, but it looks like there are more Annas than Rufus now.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 6:33PM
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Oh, that bee fly is almost huggable with its fuzzy little self. I tried to attract hummingbirds with a feeder, but it hasn't worked. We just have very happy ants at the feeder. Lol
I grew cosmos for the first time this year and have gotten lots of big bumblebees and many other sorts as well as a painted lady butterfly.
I would love to see a blue-bellied lizard. We have pigeons. ;)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 7:05PM
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todancewithwolves(Z9 CA)

lavender_lass - Skippers are small and have large heads, their hind wings are at slightly different angles than the front wings. That bee is so darn cute! I have never seen that species before. Hummer is nickname for hummingbird.

Annette - I'm so happy to hear your Mason Bee house is full. Thank goodness for our native bee's.

crackingtheconcrete - A hummingbird will find the feeder someday. My mother put one up and it took months before a hummer found it. Now the little bugger get's upset if the feeder is ever empty. Try putting a slab of vaseline around the hanger to prevent ants from crossing.

cardwellave - the small white butterflies may be a cabbage moth?

gardenweed_z6a - glad to hear that your area is thriving with wildlife.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 1:05PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Caught the spring Monarch migration and found 6 pupas. Got to see a couple adults emerge.

Lots of black and tiger swallowtails. And of course the Ruby-throateds. They tend to use the natural nectar sources more than the feeders this time of year.

Also seeing an anole population explosion this year. Don't know how many times I stumbled on an intimate moment and now I'm seeing babies everywhere! ;)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 1:02PM
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No pics of them, but have plenty of bumblebees as well as bald faced hornets as well as various other flying insects. We have 4-H chickens, ducks, & doves in the backyard as well as rabbits, so lots of critters.

In our shady woodland backyard this is the birdbath I watch sparrows & dark eyed juncos trade off using it.

Hummingbirds are frequenting the 'Lucifer' Crocosmia & foxglove in this spring planted bed, but I can't manage to catch a photo of them. I've not seen them at the hosta here, but saw one get stuck in a fading hosta flower & wiggle to get out outside my daughter's kitchen window.

This morning a gray squirrel hopped along the wood chip path while the dogs were asleep next to me on the carpet. Otherwise, they'd be chasing it off. Just now a little brown chipmunk ran across the grass.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 3:05PM
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todancewithwolves(Z9 CA)

We don't have lizards or chipmunks in our area :-(

Your monarch is beautiful, Natal.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 5:40PM
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