Nature Matters: spring insects are on the move

Spring is here and Bowen’s insects are on the move.

In the forest, the best places for insect watching are where there are flowers. The salmonberry and huckleberry bushes are coming into full flower along the trails in Crippen Park near where I live.

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On a short stop beside some blossoms, I can see five or six large fat, furry queen bumble bees gathering pollen and nectar to feed their first broods of workers in their new nests in tree holes and rotting stumps.

Within a week or two, I’ll start looking for the smaller workers.

They take over food gathering tasks from their mother, the queen. After her first brood of workers start to fly, the queen stays home to lay eggs and manage the nest full time.

Bumble bees and other native bees are hardy. Once they emerge, they are out visiting flowers in all weathers.

I often see some of the tiny solitary bees, one quarter the size of a house fly, gathering pollen on pussy willows in the middle of rain showers.

On warm sunny days, I can see honey bee workers visiting wildflowers and garden flowers.

Originally from the tropics, these bees tend to forage only on warm days.

I also keep my eye peeled for other pollinators such as butterflies, beetles and flies that come to spring flowers for food.

Spring insects are not only active around flowers. When I am working in our garden, I am always glad to see big black ground beetles. These voracious predators are always on the prowl ready tackle and eat slugs, cutworms and other garden pests.

Want to learn more about the insects that you are seeing this spring? Bring your photos or captured live specimens of insects that you are finding, and join me at the Nature Club annual general meeting and family potluck dinner.

I will be leading a “mystery bug” identification session and presenting a Bowen insects in spring slide show. All welcome. For details, look for the ad in this issue of the Undercurrent.

I hope to see you there.

Bowen Nature Club, est. 1985, is dedicated to the enjoyment, understanding, and preservation of

Bowen’s diversity. For more information: bowennatureclub.blogspot.com.

© Copyright Bowen Island Undercurrent

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