Summer. A time to slow down…enjoy the weather. A time to place a thin blanket on the ground, sit, and have lunch on the grass not a table. Soak in those rays while you’re at it! Summer is also a time for insects. It’s their time too.
These are a few that I’ve seen within the last week: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), the Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly (Calopteryx maculata), and the tiny, tiny sweat bee (Halictidae). I’ve also seen the Colorado Potato Beetle (not good for the garden), many ants, spiders galore, and a centipede.
What I haven’t seen are many honey bees.
From word of mouth, bee keepers are voicing difficulty with their hives. Honey bees have an uphill battle. Some of their struggles are: loss of habitat, pesticide, insecticide, and fungicide use, GMO crops, monocrops, mites, virus, and bacteria.
Honey bees are pollinators which pollinate our food. There are other pollinators such as: beetles, flies, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and even bats…but none are as efficient as the honey bee. We need to protect out pollinators because our food depends on it.
Disappearing pollinators are such a concern that scientists have developed drone pollinators. Yes, robot pollinators. Flying tiny robots pollinating flowers. Because these drones need to be controlled by a human, they cannot be efficient. Scientists hope to teach AI (Artificial Intelligence) to be able to control the drones on their own and know how to pollinate.
Do you want AI pollinating your food?
Not me. I hope we never get to that point. Let’s help the pollinators. But how?
This year I am converting my front grass lawn into a native habitat. Grass cannot hold much water, does not support a great deal of wildlife, costs a lot of money to fertilize/water, and you must mow it every week. But native plants support a lot of wildlife! You do not need to fertilize it and after the native plants are established, you don’t even need to water them! Yay native plants!
At nurseries there are beautiful blooming plants to purchase, but many don’t do much for pollinators either because they are cultivars or have been artificially bread to be hearty and beautiful. Many native insects cannot stomach those plants. Good for pretty, showy flowers, bad for nature and the ecosystem.
Man’s tampering has unintended consequences.
I like that idea. What kind of native plants are available in your region?
Hello! Great question! Some Illinois native plants I’ve recently planted are: Golden Alexanders, Common Spiderwort, purple coneflower, prairie alumroot, and large leaf aster. I can’t afford to plant too many, so next year I am going to plant: zigzag goldenrod, bloodroot, pee-wee oak leaf hydrangea, wild strawberry for ground cover, wild ginger for ground cover, and jack in the pulpit. The great thing is that these perennials will come back year after year, so the expense is worth it.
fascinating … but i’m curious … are you recently using another brand of paint or changing your style it strikes me that your art is brighter … more stark …
Hi Gene! You’re very observant!! I am using a new software to scan my paintings in and clean them up. When I scan, it never looks like the painting in real life, so I increase the saturation a bit to reflect the original. My old software did not allow me to do this. Thanks for the question! I hope you’re enjoying your holiday time!
tell me more about this software program – I am trying to steer clear of them for the most part … but this appears to be working well for you; it might be interesting to explore … YES! am enjoying the holiday
to paint daily!
Hi Gene! I’m using a subscription to Photoshop. It’s $20 a month. I’m familiar with this software as I used to use it for work and in school. It’s great for color adjustments, layering, and other tricks….but I keep it simple. I used to use paint.net, a free downloadable software, however color correction is not great.
happy birthday to me
Happy Birthday Gene!!! I hope you get Photoshop as a present! And I wish you many, many, many more wonderful birthdays! 😄
I’m very conscious of this, too. I have a “butterfly and bee” sanctuary (also a sanctuary for me!) in my yard in Central Pennsylvania. This year, I have yet to see a single honey bee. Also, there are very few butterflies. Many other creepy critters, but….sad face.
Incidentally, I’m a new follower of your blog and LOVE it. Thank you for the smiles. We are kindred spirits.
Greetings! It is very sad what is happening to our insects. Just last week when I visited a nursery that specializes in native plants, the woman said that they only found one monarch egg on their plants. One! She said they used to have hundreds. Monarchs are in trouble. But we are trying to help! Your butterfly and bee sanctuary is the oasis they need. Good job! And thanks for the kind comments on the site…glad you like it!
hi, I just put in two pollinator beds in my yard, designed by Denise Sandoval of Good Natured Landscapes. One in the front and one in the back. I have hired Pure Prairie Organics to treat my yard this year and installed 2 rain barrels and another compost bin. Trying to set an example for the neighbors. Sandy Youngstrom
Hi Sandy! I too had Denise help me with my front yard!! I will document the process next year and mention Good Natured Landscapes when I can show comparing photos before/after. I’m so excited about your yard and rain barrels! You are setting a GREAT example for neighbors that might not understand why one would want to do this. And think of all the insects you are helping!!!! Way to go Sandy! 😀
I was looking at this previous posting of yours and noticed you painted a Dameslfly! My husband and I have land in Virginia and it has all gone back to nature with the exception of a few fields. One year we were walking through the woods in the Spring and I saw a Dameslfly for the first time. I thought I saw a fairy. 🧚♀️ It caught my eye and I had to follow it. I was so intrigued. So I love fire flies…my favorite night time insect and Damselflies are my favorite day time insects. We live in California so I do not have the joy of seeing these guys regularly but when I do, I am awestruck. God is so creative, isn’t He? We have bee issues here too and lots of beekeepers are working hard to preserve them. I would imagine our land which is 167 acres would be a haven for bees as well. I wonder if we could strategically plant certain things to better serve our bee populations?
Hi Lesriddell! Yes! Damselflies are almost magical…so delicate! God really is the Great Creator! Your land sounds amazing! It probably does host a great amount of native insects, including bees. The only thing I can think to suggest is to try and eliminate invasive plant species on your land. Invasives are aggressive and overtake much land so that native plants cannot grow. If native plants cant grow, native insects can’t benefit. With that being said, your land is so big I wouldn’t know how to do that! It would be a massive project. But what you can do is plant more natives. You can research what types of Virginia native plants can help native bees by visiting the Virginia Department of Natural Resource webpage or http://www.vnps.org (Virginia Native Plant Society). Good luck! And thanks for being concerned about the insects! 😀