Journal archives for October 2023

October 03, 2023

October News

Hello Everyone!

Happy October! It's sure feeling like fall now!

We have ALMOST reached our goal of 10,000 observations by the end of summer 2023! We are at a total of 9,945 observations; only 55 to go! Upload your observations by October 31st 2023 to have them included in my urban plant-pollinator study.

Thank you to those who were able to make it out to our last pollinator walk of the year in September and thank you to everyone who came out to a pollinator walk this summer! I have really enjoyed the community pollinator walks and we hope to continue them next summer!

Each month we draw a prize winner for members of the project that contribute observations during the month. Our September prize winner is @lauraulthar , congratulations!

September 2023 Stats
Observations made: 310
Research grade identifications: 220
New members joined: 7

Enjoy a photo recap of our events and pollinator walks from 2023!

Posted on October 03, 2023 02:43 AM by jdo77 jdo77 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 13, 2023

Plant of the Month: Smooth Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve)

I have two exciting things to share! First, we have reached our goal of 10,000 observations! Thank you so much everyone! Second, Kiarra @kiarra13 will be taking over our plant and pollinator of the month segments. She is completing her undergraduate honours project that focuses on meaningful science communication! I have the pleasure of mentoring them on this project and I am super excited for the work they are doing!

Without further ado, here is the plant of the month:

Symphyotrichum laeve, commonly known as Smooth Aster or Smooth Blue Aster, is a perennial wildflower in the daisy family (Asteraceae). There are 15 species of Symphyotrichum, commonly called American Asters, native to Alberta. The scientific name Symphyotrichum comes from the Greek words sympho and trichos, meaning ‘to grow together’ and ‘a single hair’ respectively. The scientific name laeve comes from the Latin word levis which means smooth. Their name comes from their appearance. They have hairless stems. The leaves are smooth, waxy and rubbery in texture and oblong in shape with either a smooth or serrated edge. The leaves have an alternate arrangement and clasp the stem. Smooth Blue Aster also has small flowers that consist of 15-30 purple-blue petals and form clusters on branches (panicle inflorescence). They bloom in full sun from late summer to early fall.

They are native to North America. They are currently distributed throughout the United States and Canada, from British Columbia to New Brunswick, and in Yukon. Smooth Blue Aster can be used to treat toothaches and fevers.

Smooth Blue Aster attracts butterfly and bee pollinators, including sweat bees, bumblebees, and leaf cutter bees. Having a late bloom time is especially important for bumble bee queens and migrating species. They also attract deers that graze on them. The plants then respond by increasing growth the next season.

purple aster flower iNaturalist Calgary Pollinators Project observation page

Posted on October 13, 2023 05:27 PM by jdo77 jdo77 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 17, 2023

Calgary Pollinators: Bee a Community Scientist Research Study

Hello everyone,

As we are at the end of pollinator season, we hope that you may be willing to spend 10 minutes
of your time to complete a survey for a research study about the Calgary Pollinators Community
Science Project. We are interested in understanding how you became involved with the project
in one or more of the following ways:

● Joining the Calgary Pollinator Project page on iNaturalist
● Uploading an observation to the project on iNaturalist
● Someone else added your observation to the project
● Identifying insects or plants within the project on iNaturalist
● Viewing and/or interacting with Calgary Pollinators Project content on social media/online
● Attending a community pollinator walk

Your feedback will help us understand what interests people about community science and what
makes them excited to learn and participate. Benefits of participating in this research study and
completing this survey include:

● Contributing to community science research
● Contributing to pollinator research
● Improvements to the Calgary Pollinators Community Science Project
● Potential improvements to other local community science projects

Begin Survey

We thank you for your time and hope that you will continue to BEE a community scientist!
The University of Calgary Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board has approved this study
(REB23-1057). If you have any questions or concerns regarding this research study, survey, or
the Calgary Pollinators Community Science Project, please don’t hesitate to contact Justine
(justine.doll@ucalgary.ca), or Dr. Mindi Summers (mindi.summers@ucalgary.ca).

Kind regards,

Justine Doll (she/her)
University of Calgary
justine.doll@ucalgary.ca

Posted on October 17, 2023 05:15 PM by jdo77 jdo77 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 26, 2023

Pollinator of the Month: Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

The western honey bee (Apis mellifera), also known as the European honey bee, is a eusocial species. This means the adults live in a group, have individuals caring for young that they did not give birth to, have a division of reproductive labour where not all individuals are capable of reproducing, and have overlapping generations. The queen bee is the only female in the colony that lays eggs. A queen bee is raised by feeding a female larvae royal jelly in addition to pollen and nectar. She can lay up to 15000 eggs a day. Male bees, also known as drones, are produced from unfertilized eggs (haploid) and have the role of mating with the queen. Worker bees are female bees, who are produced from fertilized eggs (diploid), and are only fed pollen and nectar, are responsible for the maintenance tasks in the hive, including raising the young and collecting the nectar.

Western honey bees are commonly 10-20 mm and have hairy eyes. Their abdomens have orange, brown and black stripes. They also have hair on their thorax, but tend to be less hairy than bumblebees. They also tend to be more slender than bumblebees.

Western honey bees were brought to North America from Europe in the 1600s for their agricultural capacity to produce honey and pollinate crops. Western honey bees are generalist species, foraging on a variety of flower species. They are currently still a managed species that is important for the pollination of crops and are rarely able to survive in the wild. However, the western honey bee likely outcompetes native bees by using too much nectar and not leaving enough for other bees to use. This negative effect that the western honey bee has on native bees may not be as prominent due to different flower preferences or feeding times, as scientists are still investigating competition patterns between European honey bees and native bee populations. Western honey bees may also negatively impact native bees by spreading diseases and infections to them.

To support native bees you can plant native flowers, including flowers with a variety of bloom times, shapes, sizes and colours. Additionally, you can try to add areas or materials that bees use to create habitats. This includes putting up bee hotels for solitary bees and leaving patches of bare ground for ground nesting bees.

Western honey bee on a pink and yellow flower

Posted on October 26, 2023 06:42 PM by kiarra13 kiarra13 | 0 comments | Leave a comment