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)

—— You have reached the end of this entry ——

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 It™

(Bee Pun Counter: 6)

——- You have reached the end of this entry ———

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

— You have reached the end of this entry —