My enthusiasm for bees sky-rocketed last year when I discovered that I wasn’t getting any squash, because I had no bees to pollinate them. I had to do the job myself with an artist’s paintbrush. My harvest? Ten squash. I’m a terrible match-maker! It’s easier to attract bees to do the work. They know what they’re doing. They’re like match.com for fruits and vegetables.
Pollinators are essential to our food supply, and not just in our backyards. Eighty percent of the world’s food crops depend on some kind of pollinator.
I already miss the ruby-throated hummingbirds and butterflies that passed through our yard or made it their home this summer and early fall. The bees are still busy in the basil flowers, so I’m waiting to cut the plants for pesto. I’m also lazy.
My husband took down the hummingbird feeder a few days ago after not seeing “our” ruby-throated hummingbird for more than a week. The tiny bird has left Kansas City and is on his way to southern Mexico for the winter. Adios! I loved watching him come to the feeder at the window. Occasionally, a visiting hummingbird would stop at the feeder, and there would be a “dog fight” in the air as the resident bird dive bombed and chased the intruder.
I didn’t see as many butterflies this year as last. We had a colder, wetter spring, which reduced their numbers. Hopefully, their numbers will bounce back after our lush, wet summer resplendent with flowering plants.
What I really want to show you are my photographs, including those below. Don’t miss them! Be sure to click on them to get a better look. For my other posts and photographs on ruby-throated hummingbirds, butterflies, caterpillars and bees, use my search box.
Here’s a list of useful websites:
- Ruby-throated hummingbird
- About Hummingbirds
- Hummingbirds for Mom
- Birds and Blooms Magazine
- Gardenweb forums on the butterfly
- Butterfly Gardening and Conservation
- Monarch Watch, for the conservation of and education about Monarch butterflies and other pollinators
- The Pollinator Partnership
Text and photographs by Catherine Sherman, all rights reserved, October 2008.