Journal archives for July 2023

July 06, 2023

July Updates and Events

Hello Everyone!

Happy July! I just got back from vacation so this will be a all in one update post!

Our July Pollinator Walk will be held on Saturday July 15, 2023 from 12:00pm-1:30pm at Griffith Woods Park. Please register for the event here.

Thank you to everyone who came out to our June pollinator events, all those who have added observations to the project, and all those who are working to identify the pollinators! The St. Patrick's Island BioBlitz, U of C Pollinator Week Garden Party, and our Pollinator Walk with the City of Calgary at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary all had a great turn out! I can't wait to see everyone at the next walk!
June 2023 Stats
Observations made: 606
Research grade identifications: 249
New members joined: 60

Our June prize winner is @joshual723 for submitting over 10 different insect species this month! Upload observations during the month of July to have a chance to win the next prize - upload as many different insect observations as you can: bees, flies, beetle, butterflies, moths, we want to see them all! Prizes include native plant seeds from ALCLA and Wild About Flowers, beeswax food wraps, eco-cloths from Mystical Metis, and other prizes!

Posted on July 06, 2023 04:02 PM by jdo77 jdo77 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 08, 2023

Plant of the Month: Wild Bergamot (Monarda fitsulosa)

Monarda fitsulosa, Wild Bergamot, or Bee-Balm is a stunning pink-purple-flowered plant in the mint family that is widespread across North America. Wild Bergamot attracts a variety of pollinators including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It is a hardy, drought tolerant plant that can grow in nutrient poor soil and can be found in a variety of habitats, including prairies, meadows, open woods, and roadsides.

Wild Bergamot has distinctive tubular flowers arranged in dense, spherical clusters atop long, leafy stems. The flowers can vary in colour; typically they are shades of pink, purple, or lavender. The plant has lance-shaped leaves that are aromatic when crushed. You can often smell a sweet minty smell in the air if you walk by a patch. They can reach a height of 2 to 4 feet and often grow together in clusters due to their spreading nature.

Indigenous tribes have used Wild Bergamot for centuries and continue to use it in traditional medicine. Some tribes use different parts of the plant, including leaves, flowers, and roots, for medicinal purposes, such as treating digestive issues, colds, and sore throats. Additionally, the plant's aromatic leaves are used in teas and potpourris.

Wild Bergamot are a great alternative to cornflowers/bachelor button flowers (Centaurea). They look beautiful and do not have the invasive potential and environmental risk of plants in the Centaurea genus, as Wild Bergamot (Monarda fitsulosa) is native to North America.

purple flower

Posted on July 08, 2023 06:13 PM by jdo77 jdo77 | 2 comments | Leave a comment

July 22, 2023

Pollinator of the Month: Leafcutter Bees (Megachile)

This month our feature pollinators are Leafcutter Bees (Megachile)!

Leafcutter bees, belonging to the genus Megachile, are found in various regions across the world. They have a broad distribution and can be found in North America, Europe, Asia, and other parts of the globe. The name "Megachile" is derived from Greek; it refers to the large jaws (mandibles) that female leafcutter bees use to cut leaves for nest-building. Leafcutter bees are solitary bees, which means they do not form large colonies like honeybees. Each female leafcutter bee creates her own nest, typically in pre-existing cavities such as hollow plant stems, holes in wood, or even man-made structures like bee hotels. These bees are not aggressive and are generally docile in nature.

Leafcutter bees play a crucial role as pollinators in various ecosystems. They are known to be generalist pollinators and visit a wide range of flowering plants. While foraging for pollen, female leafcutter bees skillfully cut circular or oval pieces from leaves, which they use to construct cells within their nests. These cells serve as food reservoirs for their developing offspring.

Bees in the Megachilidae family such as mason bees, carder bees, and leafcutter bees have hair on the underside of their abdomen that carries pollen, making their underbelly appear yellow. Leafcutter bees, as a genus, can be identified by their robust body shape and prominent mandibles in females. They have a size range of around 5 to 20 mm in length. The coloration can vary among species, but they typically have a dark-coloured body with pale bands or patches on their abdomen. Males and females may also differ in coloration. There are currently 21 recorded species of Megachile in Alberta.

As always, feel free to add any information that I may have missed about leafcutter bees!



Posted on July 22, 2023 02:45 PM by jdo77 jdo77 | 0 comments | Leave a comment