Sunday, August 14th by Ash Arons

Do not fear, the annual blog update is finally here! I apologize for the late entry, I have just been so bee-sy with data collection that I didn’t realize how bee-hind I got. But I am back now, so flip your frown, and lemme tell you about some neat stuff that I’ve found:

[Bee-Search]

Pinned At Long Last

Although they have yet to be uploaded to iNaturalist, all of last year’s collected bees have been pinned! The box you can see is one of three total so far, hopefully this year’s data will be(e) able to fit in its own too!

August 2021 Pollinator Plot Bees

Heckin’ Hymenoptera

Here are a few others in the order that didn’t make the cut to be(e)come model specimens. Take a look at how cool these wasps are, and while their long ovipositors may seem menacing, they are actually quite useful to deposit eggs in hard-to-reach locations!

Hymenoptera Collected Summer 2021

[College Garden]

Living Time Machine

Have you Senna any plants going to seed? Reminiscent of beans, the pods pictured be(e)low are indeed Wild Senna seeds! And a special appearance this week is brought to us by the Ohio Spiderwort… although all other spiderwort plants across campus have withered away, this one bloom at the College Garden says, “I’m here to stay!”

Wild Senna Goes to Seed
Spiderwort Refuses to Quit

Bees, Beetles, & Besties

Bumble Bee on Purple Coneflower
Long-horned bee on Ohio Spiderwort
Bumble Bee Takes a Bee-rake
Spotted Cucumber Beetle on the Smooth Aster
Ant-archy on the Ironweed
Seriously Bro, Like What Are You Trying To Prove

[Pine Patch]

Thrown of the Over-grown

I took this photo before I did some major weeding, but you’ll have to check back in next week to see the after!

Pine Patch on Sunday, August 14th, 2022

Season of Seeds

It’s the bee-uty of pollination baby!

Red Milkweed Seeds Disperse
Seeds of Wild Senna
Red Milkweed Bugs Bother the Red Milkweed
Butterfly Milkweed Pods

Still Here?

The Foxglove Beardtounge diminished at the start of the summer back in June, so its quite the oddity to have seen this lil fellow out and about when I was weeding the Pine Patch this week. Call that a late bloomer!

Foxglove Beardtounge, Penstemon digitalis

Buzz on the Block

Bumble Bee on Wild Senna
Bumble Bee on the Last of the Butterfly Milkweed
Great Golden Digger Wasp & Bee (if you can find it)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Red Milkweed
Large Milkweed Bug on Milkweed Pods
Soldier Beetle, Family Cantharidae

[Vegetable Garden]

Bun on the Run

Just the one

Having fun

By the suns

Bun 1 in Sister System Set Up

The Bees Knees

Bombus Pollinates Peppers
Close-up of Aforementioned
Braconid Wasp with Antennae the Size of its Body
Ants Shan’t Go Unnoticed

Sunflower Scour

Pollinators in the Plot

American Goldfinch, Spinus tristis
Agapostemon on Sunflower
Bumble Bee
And Anotha’ One

Spot the Bee(s)

It May Take A Second
Hint: You’re Looking For Two!

[Fi.eld Days.]

More Pan Traps Planned

The following pictures are from the pan trap collection I did over the weekend. This round I collected 20 bees; the highest amount I’ve found at Rittman since early July (27 bees), and more than last week’s (6).

Wildflower Pan Trap Set Up
Ladybeetle Spotted Mid-Collection

53 Down

I finally went through the three data collections I’ve completed at the William J. Robertson Preserve over the past couple of months. I counted over 300 specimens, with roughly 28.3% or so be(e)ing bees! In the next several weeks I intend to pin other noteworthy insects from the traps, including Orthoptera (crickets), Coleoptera (beetles), and other Hymenoptera (wasps/cool ants). I will eventually present all of these in a box for future environmental education classes to be held at the WJRNP.

7/4/22, 8/7/22, and 8/12/22 Bees Pinned!

Spot the Swallowtail

Caught Mid Stretch on the Ironweed

Just Bee-cause

Honeybee on Crownbeard (Genus: Verbesina)

[Is This Goodbee or Hello?]

This Bumble Bee Will Wave At You Regardless

(Bee pun counter: 11)

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Sunday, August 7th by Ash Arons

With a little over 3 weeks until the start of the fall semester, it is rightfully grind season here in Wooster. The vegetables are growing, the pollinators are froing, and my Independent Study is getting going!

[College Garden]

Marvelously Mulched

The Vegetable Garden Assistants did a wonderful job mulching the lower garden. It’s amazing to see the beds ap(bee)r so vividly against the wood chip paths!

Yellow Hellos

Two new blooms this week in the College Garden: Wild Senna and False Sunflowers!

Wild Senna, Senna hebecarpa
False Sunflowers, Heliopsis helianthoides

Floating Fly-Bye Friends

Confusing Furrow Bee by Mountain Mint
Bombus Bids Bergamot Goodbye
A Fuzzy Apidae by the Ironweed
Zabulon Skipper on the Ironweed
Stink bug Signals Budding Aster

Sign Coming Soon

Along with the signs I am constructing for my I.S., I will also be drafting designs for the Pollinator Patches signs! In addition to filling the posts below, the upper garden will also receive its very own sign. Hopefully the end results leave y’all s(bee)chless!

Wooden Sign Posts by the College Garden

[Pine Patch]

Happy Hues

No new blooms to the Pine Patch this week, however, the False Sunflowers have really taken over the aisle way despite the on-surge of aphids.

False Sunflowers, Heliopsis helianthoides
Tall Tickseed, Coreopsis tripteris

Buzz on the Block

An Andrenidae on a Brown-eyed Susan
Bombus by Wild Senna, Senna hebecarpa
Augochlorini on the Red Milkweed
A Little Leafcutter Bee on the Milkweed

[Vegetable Garden]

Peppers, Pickles, & Pollinators

Sunflower Towers

Estranged Sisters

Pollinators in the Plot

[Bee-Search]

Fantastic Phenology

Here are the top microscope photos from this week’s iNaturalist updates…A big whoo(bee) is in order for this week after uploading all of the 6/18/22 specimens to our C.O.W. Pollinators and Plants Project!

Ready, Set, Dry!

With one round of this summer’s sampling completed, I decided to start pinning bees from last year’s collection. I finished up the 8/5/21 set and just have two more collections from 2021 to pin be(e)fore we’re back on track!

8/5/2021 Specimens Dry on Styrofoam

[Vi.s.iting Rittman]

Spot the Bee!

Hint: Do you really need the tip?

Augochlorini on Blue Vervain, Verbena hastata

Continuing the Collecti.ons.

A semi-successful “hunt,” I managed to find 5 bees today on my second pan trap sampling of the William J Robertson Nature Preserve! With my sites finalized, it’ll be(e) a breeze to re(bee)t another round or two of specimen collections. Next week I intend to set out transects and catalogue the various plant biota I find!

Arons I.S. Specimen Collections: 7/4/22, 8/7/22

Eye Spy

[Green & Good to Go]

See ya next week!

Ash Arons, Friday August 5th 2022

(Bee pun counter: 6)
— You have reached the end of this entry—–

Sunday, July 31st by Ash Arons

My oh my we’ve reached the final week of July! With August approaching and the start of school encroaching it’s time to get going on preparing the plots for fall.

[Research]

This week I also wrapped up my summer research assistantship with the Moreno Lab. I’d like to take a moment to share some of the highlights of what I’ve learned over these past couple months:

Tons & Tons of Traps

I learned how to identify insects stored by different means. Some of what we covered included sticky traps & pitfalls, as well as sweeps and kill jars.

Hella Hymenoptera

There are so many more genera in this order that I’d like to learn about, it’s safe to say that bees are not the end of this story.

Handy Guide to Hymenoptera (minus Hoverflies)

Awfully Average Arachnids

I’m also glad to say that I (mostly) got over my spider schweemishness! Be(e) prepared to scroll quickly if you have yet to:

Crab Spider, Family: Thomisidae
Jumping Spider, Family: Salticidae

Neat Neuroptera

An unexpected encounter in the sticky traps, lacewings are in their own separate order, and can be beneficial to gardeners.

Brown Lacewing, Family: Hemerobiidae

Klepto Chalcids

SO many of these lil wasps showed up on the sticky traps and many of them act as hyperparasites, in that they exercise parasitic behavior upon parasites of other species!

Yellow-collared Scape Moths Suck at Escaping

Unfortunately this trio didn’t stick to their plan…

Order: Lepidoptera

Owlflies Are Outrageous

Although we didn’t encounter any owflies in our collection, they’re a part of the Neuroptera order and are likewise predaceous!

Photo Made Available Through www.projectnoah.org

Ultimately I’d Like to Pin a Ulysses

Okay well maybe not necessarily pin it, but getting close enough to observe one in person would check an item off my bucket list.

Credit: www. aureus-butterflies.de

And now, back to the Patches:

[College Garden]

First of Many

Another tickseed bloomed this week: Lance-leaved coreopsis!

Lance-leaved Coreopsis, Coreopsis lanceolata
Echinacea Buds Before Blossoming
Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpea

Be(e)ming Buddies

Ironweed (ft. This Bee’s Super Suave Scopa)
A Big Ol’ Bombus on Bergamot

Spot the Bee(tles):

Hint: It’s wedged in amongst them somewhere!

Badass Brethren of Bees

Mason Wasp on Rattlesnake Master, Family: Vespidae
Digger Wasp Aids in Aphid Epidemic, Family: Crabronidae

Patterned Pals

A Ladybug About to Have an Aphid Feast
Tiger Moth Tiptoeing Through the Wood Chips

An Arch of Our Own

Foreflower: Mountain Mint “Arch”: Ironweed

[Pine Patch]

Triloba Takeover

As you can see these plants have exploded this season! Check out different viewpoints of the Pine Patch and notice how this yellow coneflower is dominating.

Brown-eyed Susans, Rudbeckia triloba
Pine Patch Entryway, July 2022

Rainbows Come After Rain

However, the brown-eyed Susans didn’t take over the whole patch! Here’s a view of some warm hues brought to you by some of our other natives in the eastern portion of the plot.

Red: Beebalm Orange: Milkweed Yellow: Senna

Buzz on the Block

Carpenter Bee on Red Milkweed
Megachilidae Dance Atop Red Milkweed
Bumble Bee on Wild Senna, Senna hebecarpa

Little Lepidoptera

Silver-spotted Skipper on Purple Coneflower
Peck’s Skipper on the yet-to-bloom Heart-Leaved Aster

A Sweet Goodbye

This being its last week, the Pine Patch bid adieu to the Ohio State University’s Honeybee Hive. While their contribution to science is much appreciated, the extra competition won’t be missed.

Pine Patch, Friday July 29th 2022

[Vegetable Garden]

Woold You Look at That!

Stalks, String Beans, & Squash

Some More Sunnies

[Click Back Next Week!]

Click Beetle, Family: Elateridae

(Bee pun counter: 3)

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Sunday, July 24th by Ash Arons

What’s up y’all it’s another wet weekend here in Wooster and the weather has been wicked. I hope you have managed to keep dry, are surrounded by clear skies, and are ready to conceptualize the growth of our Pollinator Patch enterprise!

[Research]

Field Days

On Monday we visited the William J Robertson Preserve in Rittman, Ohio, where I got a 20-step tutorial in how to conduct a sweep. Since I identified all of the 2021 Fern Valley sweep samples this past week, it’s exciting to have learned that method of specimen collection.

Spittlebug on a Sweep Net, July 18th 2022

Funnily enough, the bug you see above is actually what Dr. Moreno and I are searching for amongst the mulch experiment in the next town over (Orville)! I set up the last set of sticky traps at Lavender Trails yesterday, and we are scheduled to collect them tomorrow. It’s wild that we’re already at the end of our sampling season and are back on track to the start of school…

Augochlorini Stuck in a Sticky Situation

Sightseeing Signs

On Tuesday, Dr. Moreno and a couple of his advisees got to help Brendan Ortiz (Woo ’23) with the start of his hydroponic workshop over in Akron, Ohio. Set up at the Akron Cooperative Farms’ main pavilion, individuals had the opportunity to learn and build their own deep culture hydroponic system. The workshop will run throughout the summer and students will engage with various hands-on activities concerning the ins and outs of urban gardening. During a tour, we spotted an excellent example of warden signage employed by the Cooperative to signal the presence of two honeybee hives nearby.

Warden Signage at the Akron Cooperative Farms

Stars of the ‘Scope

The first of a few lady beetles this blog post, I like this lil guy because the spots make it seem like it’s smiling [ :

14-Spotted Ladybeetle, Family: Coccinellidae

Cool find from the 6/18/22 Pollinator Plot Pan Trap Collection, a Holcopasites cuckoo bee! Known to exercise brood parasitism on Calliopsis bees (the yellow-faced fellows from a previous post), these parasitic bees manage to infiltrate their offspring into solitary bee nests, where they later commandeer food resources from the Calliopsis’ young.

Cuckoo Bee Family: Apidae Genus: Holcopasites

[College Garden]

Purple Reign

The coneflower from last week surprised us with two new blooms! Aren’t they great? The Ironweed bloomed as well over this week, and the bees are already loving it!

Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpea
Honeybees on Ironweed, Vernonia fasciculata

Yellow-Bellied Bugs

Although there is certainly an abundance of aphids on this milkweed, I decided not to counter them with soap because the plant is going to seed and had already stopped flowering. Interestingly though, you will notice how the aphids at the College Garden are yellow whereas those occupying the False Sunflowers in the Pine Patch are red. As aphids are considered primary culprits of plant damage, I’ll keep a lookout for any blue ones!

Aphids Attacking the Red Milkweed

Too Bee-zy To Be Bothered

Blue Mud Dauber Wasp on Mountain Mint
Carpenter Bee on Bergamot (ft. My Reflection)

[Pine Patch]

Watered Plenty

The weather of the past couple of months may have given our plants a slight lean, yet you will notice that they are still happy, lively, and green!

Pine Patch, Sunday July 17th 2022

Hive Mind

In continuation of his study surrounding the impact of honeybees on local bees, Matt Pardi’s bee box has arrived this week in the Pine Patch. You may notice a larger number of honeybees out & about so keep it top of mind that you don’t want to disturb the hive!

Honeybee Hive Brought in for I.S. Research!
Honeybees, Apis mellifera, Investigate the Cement

Special New Petals

One new bloom to the Pine Patch this week: Wild Senna! Also as a bonus, try your hand at spotting the bee… I’m sure our bud is around there somewhere!

Wild Senna, Senna marilandica

Guardians of the Garden

Ladybeetle Amongst A Small Army of Aphids
12-Spotted Pink Ladybeetle (Family Coccinellidae)
False Milkweed Bug, Family: Lygaeidae (Seed Bugs)

Midnight Munchies

Bun 1 & Bun 2 Visit the Pine Patch Past Sun Set

[Vegetable Garden]

Sunny Daze

The sunflowers have arrived and they really showed up in all the colors of the sun! It looks like the bees are already finding them rather fun. And when the rest of the buds begin their blaze there will be more sunny news to come!

Bumblebee on a Sunflower
Pretty-Painted Sunflower Petals

Sprouts Reaching Out

The sisters have apparently decided to branch out from their beds and start networking with one another. Make sure to watch your step if you’re strolling through the straw aisles!

Squash Tendrils Extend Across Adjacent Beds

[Found Around Town]

Hey! That’s a Hibiscus?

I don’t know about you, but I generally don’t associate hibiscus flowers with Wooster, Ohio! Here are several that I spotted across campus, it’s a shame that they’ll be gone before the fall…

Hibiscus Flower Outside of Gault Schoolhouse
Hibiscus Flower on a Route to Scheide
Hibiscus Flower Next To Andrews Hall

Pleasing Pink Plants

Apis mellifera Outside Wooster Admissions
Bee Beside First Presbyterian Church
Stargazer Lillies Nearby Freelander Theatre

Storms A Brewin’

We’ve had a week of storms here in Wooster. On Wednesday these cool clouds could be seen next to the arch, & I managed to get a picture of the lightning mid-strike:

Mammatus Clouds Outside of Kauke
Lightning Strikes Above Wooster Admissions

Insects on the Go!

Butterfly Stops in Schiede’s Shade
Dog day Cicada Goes About its Way
Ivory-marked Borer, Family: Cerambycidae (Long-horn Beetles)

Walking on the Daily

Been Noticing How Green the Grass is Lately…

[Smell Ya Later]

Small Seething Skunk Sets Up Super Secret Lair

(Bee Pun Counter: 1 😧)

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Sunday, July 17th by Ash Arons

The rain has been pouring incessantly today, which will make for easy weeding on Monday! Thank you for taking the time to check in on our Plots & other happenings on this mildly moody Sunday.

[Lavender Tales]

Signs Explain Experimental Designs

Dr. Moreno and I were supposed to attend Lavender Trails’ Vendor Day today from noon to 3pm, however it ended up being cancelled due to the inclement weather. Since y’all didn’t have the opportunity to make it down, I included some of the signage we had displayed next to the experimental plots throughout this past week:

Mycorrhiza Fungi Experiment & Sign
Sticky Trap Collection from 7/13/2022 & Sign

Moonlit Arachnid

This prickly pear cactus-looking spider followed me back from LT last Wednesday… After poking him under the microscope I was able to utilize Seek by iNaturalist to help identify it! If you also enjoy knowing the names of the life around you, I highly recommend checking out their mobile app. Turns out this was not a cactus spider (darn) but rather an immature Araneus cingulatus, a member of the orb weaver family.

Full Moon’s in Capricorn you say? I raise you the Spider Moon

[College Garden]

Only A Year & We’re Here

Here’s a quick comparison of the College Garden from a year ago to today! I can’t wait to see how much it’ll grow throughout the school year:

College Garden, Tuesday July 6th 2021
College Garden, Friday July 15th 2022

Coneflower Coming Soon!

We have yet to see the purple echinacea bloom ever since its original planting in early June of 2021. This bud looks promising though and hopefully they’ll choose to share their hues with us soon!

Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpea

Minty-Fresh Breath

‘Tis Mountain Mint season down here at the College Garden & the pollinators are coming in pairs to get a test of this (b)r(ee)zy refreshment!

Lasioglossum & Friend Share A Sip
What A Sharp Jawline, Never Seen A Bee So Fine
Calliopsis Stops to Top it Off
Pompous Bombus Covered in Fuzz

Plants & Pals

A few pix of the various other pollinators spotted about the College Garden:

Calliopsis Visiting the Rattlesnake Master
A Wedge-Shaped Beetle Makes a Spiky Hike
Can you spider Megachilidae?
Who Said Ants Cant Pollinate?
Monarch Caterpillar on the Red Milkweed!
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Sittin’ & Sippin’

Reigning in the Rain Gardens

Rain Gardens, Friday July 15th 2022

An often overlooked patch of campus, Wooster has supported this rain garden experiment for quite some time. Meant as a way to determine the success of Iron-Osorbâ„¢ in removing harmful toxins from surface water run off, these two gardens were once tested and compared regularly. In fact, when I first toured in 2019, they handed out little packets of Iron-Osorbâ„¢ for us to take home to try out! Although it remains unmanaged today, we include the Rain Gardens in our Pollinator Plot pan trap sampling because it is home to several native plants. Read more about the rain gardens below:

Signage for the Iron-Osorbâ„¢ Experiment
False Sunflowers, Heliopsis helianthoides
Bumble bee on Culver’s Root, Veronicastrum virginicum
Bumble bee in Hedge Bindweed, Calystegia septum

Bunny Sightings

Bun 1 & Their Shield from the Sun
Close Up Shot of Bun 1 (They Model For Fun)
Bun 2 Hopped Away Before I Could Get a Better View

[Pine Patch]

A Tip Toes Type of Photo

One new bloom this week – Tall Tickseed! It took me several tries to get this photo right, prolly because this plant is over twice my height!

Tall Tickseed, Coreopsis tripteris

Who’s Hovering by the Hula Hoops?

We gained a new researcher in the Pollinator Plots this week! Matt Pardi (Woo ’23) is continuing the work of Ren Johnson (Woo ’22) in the Pine Patch over the next month. Studying how honeybee hives affect the competitive be(e)haviour of local bees, both Ren & Matt collected live samples from the Pine Patch with a special bee-sized-vacuum. After observing the amount of pollen the bees gathered, they are released. To randomize where the bees are collected from, Matt and Ren utilized hula hoops to provide a standardized radius of sampling. Be(e) sure to wave if you see Matt in the field!

Hula Hoop Method of Bee Collection

Buzz on the Block

Agapostemon on OH Spiderwort (ft. Matt’s hoops)
Megachilidae on Red Milkweed
A Bombus Aboutta Bounce

Petal or Pollinator?

Most bees you see are dusted with bright yellow pollen, but some carry it around in little sacks on their legs better known as corbiculae! While bees don’t have knees, see if you can spot this Agapostemon’s pockets:

Agapostemon on Grey-headed Coneflower

[Bee-Search]

Pitter Patter Lets Get At Her

Here we go, it’s time for round 2

Bowls spray-painted white yellow & blue

A 24-hour trap period should do

Doesn’t matter which color they choose

For the soon-to-be iNaturalist muse

Pan Trap Set #9, Friday July 15 2022

Vials Upon Vials

Surprisingly, the pan traps managed to avoid being affected by the rain storms this weekend. It even appeared to be the most bees I’ve collected in a sample period yet, with some bowls having upwards of 6 bees! I’m eager to get these be(e)uties into the Salon so they can make their debuts on iNaturalist.

7/16/22 Pollinator Plot Pan Trap Collection

[Vegetable Garden]

Sisters Cover Sisters

Here is a great view of the sister system in action! The crawling squash is acting as a living cover crop, in that it reduces the amount of weeds that are able to grow. However, due to the clever planning of Dr. Mariola and his team of helpers, the shade cast from its large leaves does not overcome the beans. In fact some of the beans have even started to climb the corn! Isn’t that a-maize-ing?

Three Sister System Mid-July

Here Comes the Sun(flowers)

These plants are growing taller than me on the daily now… I’m be(e)wildered!

Ash & A Soon-to-Bee Sunflower

[Wooster Wonders]

Grounds Is Great

I’m unsure of when the College of Wooster Grounds Department originally be(e)gan planting native flowers around campus, but I thought I’d share an example of one of their plots outside of Kauke. And in a previous post you can take a walk around campus to view some of their other plantings!

Brown-eyed Susans in front of Kauke

With our newfound recognition as a certified Bee Campus, we are excited to continually improve people-pollinator relations. I would like to take a moment though, to acknowledge and share my appreciation for the be(e)utiful job that our Grounds Department have been doing to promote pollinators. Two additional instances that set Wooster Grounds apart from the others came to my mind on a walk this past week:

Green-Thinking When Trimming

Clovers nearby Galpin Hall

While the image above may appear rather mundane at first glance, you might find it difficult to find a weed in this photo that are not the clovers. Knowing that Grounds maintains this line of the sidewalk with herbicides, I found it interesting as well as telling of their character that they left this flowering plant be.

Stumped? So What?

Stump outside of Kenarden Lodge

Trees are a great nesting resource for solitary bees of all sorts, so keeping this stump in place shows that Grounds is keeping pollinators in mind and are pro-hive!

All in all, I’m glad to get to work alongside a team of dedicated individuals. They are truly a be(e)con of inspiration.

Pro-Pollinator Plant?

Speaking of non-Pollinator Plot plants, I have never actually seen one of these flowers be pollinated be(e)fore! However, when considering what I’ve learned through my I.S. research, it makes since that it would be a bumble bee. This is be(e)cause bumblebees are highly adept at collecting pollen from a wide variety of flowers. Although they may not be specialists, a kind of bee that pollinates certain flowers really well, their ability to pollinate a plethora of flowers ultimately acts as a benefit in that it expands their foraging range.

Bumble Bee pollinating a Hosta

Close-Cousins of Bumble Bees

Here are some other members of the Hymenoptera order:

Ant Brings Parasitic Wasp Home to Meet the Fam
Blue Mud-dauber Wasp, Family Sphecidae

Out of (the Hymenoptera) Order

Lightning-bug, Order: Coleoptera, Family: Lampyridae
Assassin Bug, Order: Hemiptera, Family: Reduviidae
Cockroach of sorts, Order: Blattodea
“Bellbottomed” Bug Order: Hemiptera Family: Coreidae

[Untail Next Time!]

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Bergamot

(Bee pun Counter: 11)

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Sunday, July 10th by Ash Arons

Welcome back, I hope you enjoyed some be(e)utiful weather this week. If not, our most recent news is sure to brighten your day: on July 7th, 2022 we were officially recognized as a Xerces Society Bee Campus USA affiliate! We are over the moon with excitement and can’t wait to be(e)gin making the most of our partnership!

[Bee-Search]

Pretty Much Pinned

More good news this week: I finished pinning all of the bees that were caught in the last Pollinator Plot pan trap sampling! They’re going to need to dry for a while on the Styrofoam before I can move them around under the microscope. Our second collection will be occurring next week, so stay on the lookout for brightly colored bowls across campus.

Remainder of the 6/29/22 Collection

An Emerald Angle

This be(e)dazzling sweat bee took the top spot for best microscope pic of the week:

Family: Halictidae Tribe: Augochlorini

[Research]

Tough Love Kid

Still stuck on the sticky traps this week, I was able to complete one of last year’s collections. The picture you see highlights the reoccurring situation I found frozen across several traps… The four large bugs that look like roadkill are actually aphids, and all of those orange specks are their babies. With over 21 kiddos in this cluster alone I can safely say I’m glad not to be an aphid.

Well That Sucks

Beneficial Bug Compost

Got too many spare bugs lying around and taking up space? Well, I’ve found the perfect (resting) place! Helpful in a myriad of ways, this bug compost will make the most of their short lived days…

Primary Insect Order Featured: Isopoda

[College Garden]

All Tucked In

This week, Dr. Mariola’s team of vegetable garden helpers tackled the first row of mulching. I think the bergamot stood a little taller for this photo:

College Garden, Sunday July 10th 2022

Be(e)tween the Aisles

No new blooms this week, but I got a couple of good pics – have a peek!

Bumblebee on Bergamot
A Lil’ Leaf Beetle on the Butterfly Milkweed

[Pine Patch]

Counting Cones

One new bloom this week: Grey-headed coneflower! I included some more brown-eyed Susans as well to provide a contrasting yellow coneflower.

Grey-headed coneflower, Ratibida pinnata
Brown-eyed Susans, Rudbeckia triloba

Buzz on the Block

Augochlorini on Butterfly Milkweed
Lasioglossum on Grey-headed Coneflower

Be(e)sides the Bees

Monarch Butterfly, Mid-flight
Red Milkweed Beetle, Tetraopes tetrophthalmus
Bun 3 Hanging by the Coreopsis

[Vegetable Garden]

Broken Bag

Beetles be(e)ware! We got another bug bag this week because if you look be(e)neath our original one you will find that its contents gave way… hooray?

Bad Beetles Need to Be(e)have

Apples on Apples

If you haven’t had the opportunity to stop by the vegetable garden you will notice some bags on the Fruit Trees! Each bag is protecting a growing apple and serves as a preventative measure against pests (in the event the Beetle Traps are not enough).

It’s Pepper Weather

Pictures of plants? Sorry, I thought you said pictures of peppers.

How High Can You Grow?

I know that it has been a second since y’all have had updates on the Sister System, but see how much it’s filled in?!

Plants Make Pretty Perimeters
As High As A House

[I.t’S. Coming Along]

First collection down! Several more left to go!

I will need to pin them before I will be able to know

What sort of bees fly to and fro

the William J. Robertson Nature Preserve,

and perhaps even call it home!

Samples from 7/4/2022 Pan Traps (WJRNP)

[Point of View]

You’re a bug on the sidewalk and traffic is light:

A worker harvesting a Harvestmen
Be(e)friending A Beetle
Cicada? More like see ya later!

[So Long!]

Farewell!

Long-horn Beetle, Family: Cerambycidae

(Bee Pun Counter: 9)

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Sunday, July 3rd by Ash Arons

…Is it already July? Wow the summer is really starting to s(bee)d on by! Here’s an update to inform you on how I’ve bee(n) spending my time:

[Research]

Starting the Lavender Trials

On Monday we spent a couple hours setting up the sticky traps for Dr. Moreno’s mulch experiment at Lavender Trails. The bamboo rods are placed around the perimeter of the largest plant within each treatment. With 5 rows of 6 treatments, we put out a total of 30 sticky traps.

Lavender Trails, Monday June 27th, 2022

Brownfield Bees

Be(e)low are a couple of bumble bees spotted by the lavender this past week. Lavender Trails is open for all of July, so make sure to head on over!

Lavender Trails, Monday June 27th, 2022
Lavender Trails, Wednesday June 29th, 2022

Fam, It’s Time for a Break

After identifying a good portion of last year’s data to family, I will now be moving onto a new task. Instead of individually moving each specimen from their vial and into a petri dish of ethanol for identification, I will be using the microscope to look at sticky traps through plastic bags.

Vile Vials

Cool Schtick

When analyzing the sticky traps I had three main objectives: to count the total number of spittlebugs (aka froghoppers) present on the entire trap, then count the number of other Hemiptera and Hymenoptera that could be viewed through the 1″ panel of this nifty contraption. I identified the appropriate insects to family and then entered the data into a spreadsheet.

Viewer for Ease of Data Entry, Froghopper circled

Although I will need to double-check my work, I finished our 6/29 collection (pictured in the left bin) and will begin working on last year’s data next week!

Sticky-Trap Trough

[College Garden]

Hues in View

Our Bergamot is our one new bloom this week! You may find it similar to our Scarlett Beebalm, and that’s because they’re in the same genus! A be(e)tter fact to share with your friends is that both beebalm and bergamot are in the same family as mint (:

Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa
Butterfly Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa

Reaching New Heights

Last year the ironweed needed to be propped up to grow straight, and now it’s truly holding its own weight! Enjoy this comparison of what nearly a year can do.

July 14th, 2021

Me (5’3/4″) next to the Ironweed (5’3″+). Can you be(e)lieve it’s the same plant?

Saturday, July 2nd 2022

Caught in the Act

… Of be(e)ing a tired bunny

Caution: Extreme Cuteness

Here you can see damage caused by the collective efforts of the Japanese and Goldenrod Leaf Miner Beetles on the Goldenrod plants. When I pulled back the leaves, one beetle tried to make a clean getaway… You gotta be(e) quicker than that buddy!

Getting it on the Goldenrod

[Pine Patch]

Be(e)ting the Beetles

Thank the Gods (or Dr. Mariola) for blessing us with the contraption you can see below. This beetle bag is equipped with pheromones that attract the Japanese Beetles into a contained area (and is designed in a way that prevents escapes). Once full, the bag is emptied and replaced so that it can continue keeping the pests at bay.

Let’s Gooo (…into the Beetle Trap)

Yellow-Faced Fellows

There are new updates on iNaturalist from our 6/18/22 collection! These yellow-faced bees be(e)long to the genus Calliopsis:

Really feeling the Wooster spirit!
Calliopsis on Red Milkweed

Sunflower the Prowler

In lieu of updates for the Vegetable Garden, I give you Sunflower, Wooster’s friendly neighborhood feline:

Sunflower on Saturday, July 2nd 2022

[(I.)n the Work(S.)]

Reading the Signs

As mentioned earlier in this post, Lavender Trails is a former brownfield. What is a brownfield you ask? Read more on their sign pictured below! This is along the same vein of information that I am researching for my I.S., and will be learning how to communicate on signage to put out at the William J. Robertson Preserve. The signs I will implement at the Preserve will include an added emphasis on native pollinators along with a brief historical background of how their plot be(e)came what it is today. I highly recommend that you stop by Lavender Trails to see their own Pollinator Pathway, complete with fun and engaging pollinator facts suited for all ages!

It’s A Trap!

Today I put out the first pan traps for my summer research! I will be back tomorrow to see what I was able to collect, and get to work on identifying… If all goes to plan I should have several more collections taking place over the next couple of months!

The Bowls Are Out! July 3rd, 2022

[Walks Around Woo]

Floral Friends

Following the flowers on a walk around campus:

Crawling Critters

A+ Antennae

Perchance a Masked Chafer? Family: Scarabaeidae
A Couple of Tumbling Flower Beetles, Family: Mordellidae

College Garden Creepers:

Honeylocust Treehoppers, Micrutalis calva
A Harvestman Hanging Out

Formidable Formicidaes:

A solider doing a thorough inspection
A worker rolling a poly

Photogenic Pit Stops:

An Owl Out & About
A Lightning Bug – Family Lampryidae

Pine Patch Pollinators:

Greater Fritillaries Butterfly
Swallowtail Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly, Danaus plexippus

[Soldier On]

A (sped-up) interpretive arrangement of “Ants Go Marching” by Ash Arons

(Bee pun counter: 9)

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Sunday, June 26th by Ash Arons

Howdy y’all and welcome to the first official week of summer! Since the solstice on the 21st, things have been lookin’ sunny here in Wooster. Be(e) sure to get outside and soak up some rays while the sun’s still out!

Temperatures reached above 90°F this week, but luckily I was able to enjoy the perks of William’s top tier air conditioning. It’s amazing how fast 6 hours of looking through a microscope can fly by…

[Research]

Practicing Pinning

The pan traps from last week’s Pollinator Patch collection turn up some pretty small bees, so be(e)fore I attempted to pin one of the lil’ ladies I tried my hand at something bigger. Proper pinning techniques will differ across the various insect orders, however it is a common rule to place your pin ever so slightly to the right.

Dragonfly, Order: Odonata

Bee Box

Satisfied with my efforts in the practice round, I moved onto the task be(e)fuddling me. Pinning bees is important for several reasons. Firstly, it requires a proper blow out from the Bee Salon after which you are able to see identifying features more clearly. Secondly, pinning allows you to preserve the specimens for longer and observe them in an organized way. Thirdly, pinning helps you access a 360° view of the bee, which comes in handy when trying to make out their faces. Putting special effort and care into pinning is additionally a means of showing respect for their sacrifice to science. Once they set, they will be ready for the ‘scope!

Be(e)ginning of the Summer 2022 collection!

iNaturalist

Be(e)cause there are over 500 species of bees in Ohio alone, I will be utilizing iNaturalist to aid in the identification process. Head over to our iNaturalist webpage to see all the bees we’ve identified so far!

[College Garden]

Beginning to Bloom

RattleSnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium
Butterfly Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa
Red Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata
Mountain Mint, Pycnanthemum incanum

Munchin’ by the Mulch

The bun-buns are back! They’re having a snack! Right by the mulch stack!

Bun 1 & Bun 2, June 26th 2022

Critters in Color

It may hop but that’s no grasshopper! This bright fellow is a member of the order Hemiptera.

Red-banded Leafhopper (Graphocephala coccinea)

Below you will find an Agapostemon bidding adieu to our Foxglove Beardtounge.

Aren’t sweat bees sweet?

Pesky Pests

A not so welcome visitor to our southernmost Patch, this Goldenrod Leaf Miner beetle along with its comrades have taken up joint in the Goldenrod.

Goldenrod Leaf Miner Beetle, Microrhopala vittata

[Pine Patch]

Coneflower Power

New blooms in the Pine Patch this week!

Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea
Brown Eyed Susans, Rudbeckia triloba

Buzz on the Block

Bombus on Foxglove Beardtongue
Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) on Butterfly Milkweed

And So It Begins (Again)…

These beetles are quite the bother… Please brush them off or even give ’em the squash!

Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica) on Scarlett Beebalm

[Vegetable Garden]

Sisters in Straw

Progress updates of the newest edition to the Vegetable Garden. I can’t wait to see how it looks in just a few weeks!

A Lil’ Lift

If you’ve happened by the Vegetable Garden, you will have noticed several newly raised beds along with fresh aisle way bedding. Check in later to see what they will be planting!

[In the Field]

Last Wednesday, Dr. Moreno and I set up his mulch experiment site located at Lavender Trails in Orrville, OH. Due to the intense rainfall we experienced this past Spring, in combination with a longer winter than previous years, lavender farmers around the county lost a large percentage of their lavender plants. This meant that we got to replant lavender for a few hours!

Whether you find yourself in the surrounding area or are in search of a place to pick your own herbal essence, Lavender Trails opens for business next week!

Map Situating Lavender Trails, Orrville OH

[Accompl(i.s.)hments ]

I finished setting up the flags where I will be collecting data for my Independent Study research! Despite seeming like a small task, this enables me to set up my pan traps and effectively “start” my study. Although no bowls were out on Saturday I did see a bunch of bees buzzing about! While it saddens me that I will not be able to rerelease the bees after identification, I am encouraged to know that y’all will join me in appreciating their pictures along the way.

William J. Robertson Preserve, June 25th 2022

[Until We Meet Again]

Same time, same place. See ya next Sunday!

Don’t be(e) afraid… Just Do Itâ„¢

(Bee Pun Counter: 6)

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Sunday, June 19th by Ash Arons

Happy Father’s Day my fellow plant friends, the weather was just lovely today and I hope you were able to spend it having some quality time with your family!

Before we get to the garden updates, I figure I should reintroduce myself properly to my recurrent and new readers alike.

So…

[A Bit About Ash]

Ash Arons (she/xe/xey), Homo sapiens

Howdy y’all, and thank you for taking a moment to learn a little more about your favorite Pollinator Garden Assistant! I am a rising senior at The College of Wooster majoring in Environmental Conservation and minoring in Studio Art. Originally founded by our Biology and Environmental Studies departments, for the past year I have been helping Dr. Jennifer Ison and Dr. Matt Mariola take care of the two Pollinator Plots on campus. It’s amazing to see how much both gardens have grown since my time working here in 2021.

Over this last school year I expanded my knowledge in sustainable agriculture, how waste affects the environment, and even the ways in which religion and ecology intersect. I joined several clubs as well and I now serve on the executive boards for Wooster’s Table Tennis & Environmental Justice Coalition clubs. In addition, courtesy of the efforts of Dr. Mariola, Wooster will be adding a Garden Club in the fall of 2022 wherein I also intend to help organize.

Throughout the course of this summer I will be conducting research in Rittman, Ohio as a part of my senior independent study. The primary focus of my project will look into how conservational signage affects the visitation rates of people and pollinators to the William J. Robertson Preserve. Specifically, I will be examining how the availability of floral resources coupled with their proximity to woodlands influences the number of native solitary bees in the surrounding area. On Friday I started the first phase of my research by setting out flags in the locations I will be placing pan traps for specimen sampling. By the end of the summer it is my goal to compile a list showcasing the variety of insects inhabiting the WJR Preserve, and to present them a box of pinned specimens.

Now onto the plots…

[Research]

Bee Bowls, Friday June 17th 2022

This past week has been a humid one, so once the rain finally fell we were able to put out our first pan traps of the season. After spending a few days identifying insects to family, it will be a nice change of pace to work on determining the genus’s of the various bees we collected. More pictures to come on this front next week.

Sorry folks, but the Bee Salon is Booked!

[College Garden]

(S)take it or Leaf it:

Our plants are so healthy they have started to fall under their own weight. Luckily, bamboo rods and twine make the threat of trampling a quick fix!

Ohio Spiderwort & Foxglove Beardtounge

New Blooms:

A special flower arrived this week, this lil’ guy was planted in 2021 but didn’t feel ready yet to bloom until today! Hopefully its first flower will bring a smile to my Pollinator Plot Blog followers.

Lance-leaved coreopsis, Coreopsis lanceolata

Coming Soon to a Patch Near You:

Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium 

Buzzin’ About:

Bombus by a Foxglove beardtounge, Penstemon digitalis

More in Store:

Stay tuned in next week to see how much progress I make on this pile!

Mulch for the garden beds, June 16th 2022

[Pine Patch]

Raising the Stakes:

Some of the flowers in the Patch were feeling down, so it was my job to get them back up off the ground!

Pale Coneflower, Echinacea pallida

New Blooms:

Butterfly Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa
Scarlett Bee balm, Monarda didyma
Red Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata

Buzz on the Block:

Sometimes referred to as sweat bees, this bee is a part of the family Halictidae.

Agapostemon on Echinacea pallida

Can you spot the bee? Hint: Look for a shiny hiny!

Carpenter bee by Ohio Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis

Mr. Blue Sky:

Not a cloud in sight.

Pine Patch, June 18th 2022

[That’s All]

Weevil be(e) back next week!

A Weevil beetle (Coleoptera Curculionidae)

Sunday, June 12th by Ash Arons

Annddd we’re back!

Welcome to the Summer 2022 edition of the Pollinator Plot blog! If this is your first time to our site I highly encourage you to check out the rest of our page when you get the chance. Returning readers may notice we have added a plethora of new articles, maps, research updates, and even plant haikus courtesy of Dr. Ison’s Field Botany course at The College of Wooster. To top off our exciting news, we have officially submitted our application to the Xerces Society to hopefully attain the Bee Campus USA certification! Curious and want to learn more? Head on over to the Xerces Society to be(e)come an agent in invertebrate conservation today!

Garden Updates

[College Garden]

Current Flowers in Bloom

Foxglove beardtounge, Penstemon digitalis
Ohio Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis
2 Native Bees on a Narrow Leaved Sun Drop, Oenothera fruticosa

Closed Up Shop

Golden Alexanders, Zizia aurea

What’s Cooking?

If you’ve happened by our lower garden you will notice the newly implemented, and successfully tested, Clay Oven built by CoW’s very own Liz Olsen, Class of 2022. A part of her study into green, or recycled, structures Liz constructed this Oven out of repurposed materials. As it was hand sculpted, this process involved a lot of sand, time, and patience. Already being used as a site of gathering, this wonderful addition to the learning garden will serve many students for years to come. Thanks Liz!

Liz Olsen’s Clay Pizza Oven, June 11th 2022

Research in the Works

There’s more going on next to the patches too! Emily Greenland, CoW Class of ’24, is continuing her research on our favorite native pollinators with The Ohio State University. Studying the effects of unmowed lawns on the abundance of bees, Emily will be conducting her research at various points on Wooster’s campus. Be(e) sure to wave if you see her, and check out her sign below to learn more:

Sign by Emily Greenland, CoW Class of ’24

New Visitor

A new visitor has appeared at the patches this week. Accompanied by our usual cotton-tailed suspects, an unknown friendly white rabbit has begun joining them on their rounds. Hopefully there will be more updates on this matter next week!

June 5th, 2022

[Pine Patch]

What’s In Bloom?

Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa, a creeping legume that’s too pretty to pull
Narrow-leaved Sundrops, Oenothera fruticosa
Foxglove beardtounge, Penstemon digitalis
Ohio Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis
Pale Coneflower, Echinacea pallida

Hydroponics

Perhaps you have seen a greenhouse in the Pine Patch this past year. Sponsored by the Environmental Justice Coalition (EJC), this structure housed Wooster’s very own hydroponic set-up over the fall semester. Now the tower resides in the Ruth W. Williams Greenhouse where it will stay until EJC meets back again in August.

EJC Hydroponics in the Pine Patch on November 7th, 2021
Hydroponic Tower in the RWW Greenhouse on May 11th, 2022

Buzz on the Block

Can you spot the bee?
Hint: This is a fly.

[Vegetable Garden]

Fruit Trees

This year the Vegetable Garden is looking to harvest some fruit as well! Make your way south of the Pine Patch and you will find a row of young pear and apple trees. You’ll be surprised by how different they will look in just a few days time!

Apple Tree, June 8th 2022

Three Sister System

Nearby the Vegetable Garden you will see a large patch of land with a series of flags laid out. The flags indicate the set-up for which plants will be growing where. On the perimeter of the plot there will be sunflowers, while on the inside there will be a three sister system. This system is created by planting maize (corn), squash, and a legume (bean) next to each other to create the optimal balance of nutrient exchange. In doing so this actually can enhance the productivity of soil. Stay tuned for more updates as the summer goes on!

June 12th, 2022

[Research]

Identification – Orders of the Hexapods

In addition to maintaining care of the Pollinator Plots this summer, I will be working with Dr. Carlo Moreno as his Research Assistant. Over the next several weeks we will be collecting data on various projects across northeastern Ohio. As a part of this field work I will get to learn new methods of specimen collection, data analysis, and gain more experience engaging with local community members. I am excited to keep y’all up to speed as I expand my knowledge as an ecologist.

This past week has been all about insect identification! By observing different specimens under a microscope, it was my job to classify them to their orders. An order is one part of the taxonomic classification system that is used to differentiate the physical characteristics between various types of insects. Some of you may be familiar with binomial nomenclature, the process of assigning a scientific name to an organism, but what I am doing right now is broader than that. Since scientific names take the format of Genus species, they are as specific as they can possibly be. The 7 taxonomic structures are Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species, and are arranged in that manner to represent how physical characteristics become more and more similar.

I now have a solid understanding of the following 10 Hexapod (6-legged) orders:

Coleoptera – Beetles

Collembola – Springtails (they look like shrimp!)

Dermaptera – Earwigs <3

Diptera – Flies

Hemiptera – “true bugs” (includes cicadas, stinkbugs)

Hymenoptera – Bees, Ants, & Wasps

Lepidoptera – Moths & Butterflies

Mantodea – Mantises

Odonata – Dragonflies & Damsel flies

Orthoptera – Grasshoppers and Crickets

[*Catch* You Next Time!]

Common Carp, Cyprinus carpio, from Killbuck Marsh, June 4th 2022

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