Wisconsin Pollinator Newsletter-April 28, 2018

Hummingbirds Are Returning

Dust off your hummingbird feeders and brew up some nectar as Ruby Throated Hummingbirds customarily return to Wisconsin in the first 2 weeks of May. The 'hummers' are going to be very hungry when they arrive as there are few plants for them to forage following our late-arriving snow storms.

6 Ways To Attract Hummers to Your Yard

•More than most birds, hummers need to bathe regularly, due to the sticky nature of nectar
•They prefer very shallow, moving water, or a spray mist.
•Placing nesting material near a feeder may attract female hummingbirds to nest near you.
Hummer Helper® is a practical nesting material and is available at many bird stores and garden centers.
. •Hummer nests are often re-used, wholly or in part. Leave a nest in place
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Pussy Willow: A Pollinator Favorite

An early herald of spring, the silky Pussy Willow catkins open well before other spring blooms. Easy-to-grow pussy willows are happy in average to wet soils. They can thrive in full sun to part shade, although less light means the plants won’t produce as many fuzzy catkins. Because pussy willows like moisture, they’re a good choice for planting near a pond, lake or stream; in a rain garden; or to help control soil erosion. Because the catkins appear so early, they’re considered one of the first signs of spring.

No need to buy pussy willows since they’re so easy to root from cuttings. Start by making a cutting 12 inches long, about the diameter of a pencil, in early spring. Make the cut on an angle. Root the cutting in water or directly in moist soil. To root in water, simply drop the cut end into a glass of clean water. Roots should form in a few weeks. Refill the glass with more water as it evaporates. When the cutting has plenty of roots, dig a hole in a sunny spot and amend the soil with compost or peat. Put the cutting in the hole and gently firm the soil around it. Water thoroughly.

Wings Magazine: Subscribe Now

Xerces.org, publishes Wings magazine which provides essays on Invertebrate conservation. It is published twice per year in the spring and fall. Each issue features spectacular photos by leading photographers and articles by well-respected scientists and conservationists. Copies may also be downloaded at no cost HERE

Mason Bees - The Pollination Workhorse

Mason Bee, the common name for solitary bees that build part or all of their nests with mud or plant fiber chewed into a paste.

Some species construct mud nests on exposed surfaces such as rocks. Others construct mud partitions between a linear series of brood cells (compartments for the larvae) that are produced in soil, hollow plant stems, or preexisting cavities, including empty snail shells and insect tunnels bored in wood. Check out these references on how to purchase purchase or build a home for mason bees

Most mason bees are smaller than honey bees, but some are about the same size as honey bees or slightly larger. They have stout bodies, and many species are metallic green or bluish in color.

Most mason bees are smaller than honey bees, but some are about the same size as honey bees or slightly larger. They have stout bodies, and many species are metallic green or bluish in color.

Mason Bee Anatomy
MWhere were the Butterflies all winter?

In spring and summer butterflies emerge in the garden, but where were they during the winter? Turns out there are quite a few strategies these insects use to survive our winter. As you read through these approaches, keep in mind that eggs, chrysalis, caterpillars and adult butterflies may be overwintering on your plants or in the leaf litter. If don’t cut down your faded plants in the fall and leave them until temperatures warm in the spring, they can survive the winter and emerge in your garden!

Adult Butterflies

In spring and summer butterflies emerge in the garden, but where were they during the winter? Turns out there are quite a few strategies these insects use to survive our winter. As you read through these approaches, keep in mind that eggs, chrysalis, caterpillars and adult butterflies may be overwintering on your plants or in the leaf litter. If don’t cut down your faded plants in the fall and leave them until temperatures warm in the spring, they can survive the winter and emerge in your garden!
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