Backyard Ecology Creating Space for Pollinators and Wildlife
Creating Space for Pollinators and Wildlife

Pollinators at Grassy Roads Farm

This week was National Pollinator Week, so I thought I would share some of the pollinators that I have been seeing around the farm. I had hoped to include pictures of beautiful butterflies feeding on our milkweed and other native wildflowers this week. However, I haven’t seen many butterflies, especially the bigger ones, lately. I don’t know whether it has been too dry or we are just between generations of adult butterflies right now. Since I didn’t have any butterflies to take pictures of this week, I had to pay more attention to all of the little, often over-looked species that visit our wildflowers. I can’t say being forced to stop, notice, and appreciate some of our less charismatic flower visitors is a bad thing.

Not all flower visitors are pollinators. Ants and many species of small bees commonly visit and collect nectar from milkweed flowers. These insects can be important pollinators for many wildflower species. However, milkweeds have a complex pollination method and none of these small insects are capable of pollinating milkweeds.
Banded longhorn beetles visit many different types of flowers. They feed on the pollen and are considered lesser pollinators of many flower species, but again, they aren’t capable of pollinating milkweeds.
Grass carrying wasps are parasitoid wasps. The adults will gather nectar from and provide some pollination for many species, such as this wild onion. The females will line their nesting chambers in hollow stems with grass and then provision the sites with crickets that they paralyze and leave for their larva to eat.
We never think of flies as pollinators, but several species are pollinators. This is one of the hoverflies or flower flies on a ruellia flower.
Honey bee working the hyssop in my nursery. I’ve been really surprised by how many pollinators I’ve seen working the small number of hyssops in the nursery. The hyssop I have planted in my garden is just starting to bloom and I can’t wait to see the pollinators that work it.
Carpenter bees may be a pain for anyone with unpainted or unstained wood structures, but they are also important pollinators.

This article was part of Shannon’s original Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife blog which evolved into the blog for Backyard Ecology. All of Shannon’s Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife blogs can be found at https://shannontrimboli.com/posts/blog/.


Backyard Ecology: Creating Space for Pollinators and Wildlife
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I started Backyard Ecology as a way to share my love of exploring nature and learning about different plants and animals. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at www.backyardecology.net.

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