WFSU Ecology Producer Rob Diaz de Villegas starts to pay attention to every creepy crawly in his yard, learning about the many relationships between plants and animals, and the life and death struggles of critters at the bottom of the food web. Along the way, he also learns about a wide variety of native pollinators, and which weeds benefit his yard.
In July and August, The late summer flowers bloom, inciting an explosion of bees and wasps. We also see predatory insects, and of course butterflies.
We continue to see more and more bees, and a high diversity of wasps. There were a lot of plant eating insects in the yard, but plenty of animals to eat them as well.
As different flowers begin to bloom, we see more and more species of bees. Butterflies remain active, and caterpillars are grazing their host plants.
We see a lot of butterflies and wasp species, and an assortment of flies serving various functions in the yard. Also, newly fledged birds!
We use iNaturalist to identify native “weeds,” in the yard, we start seeing a few bee and wasp species, and meet the doubly beneficial hoverfly.
An unseasonably warm January sees early blooms, and monarch caterpillars out of season. We see why tropical milkweed needs to be cut back after Thanksgiving.
Halfway through the month, a 47 day drought ends. How did our plants respond? And how did pollinators respond to a stressed backyard ecosystem?
A huge wave of monarch caterpillars meet a mysterious end, a harsh drought hits Tallahassee, and we identify several “weeds” and insects.
New flowers bloom, the most popular is beebalm. They’re pollinated by a variety of native bees, and we see fanpetals get visited by checkered skippers (to lay eggs?), a hidden monarch, and a few other interesting insects and weeds.
So many pollinators in the yard, including a few species of native bees. Also, iNaturalist helps me identify several “weeds” in the yard. I found a couple of interesting natives, and a couple less welcome plants. Also, predatory insects, weird looking nymphs, and a Carolina wren nest.
I’m sure plenty went on in our backyard this June, we just weren’t here for much of it. We did see a summer look for a winter visitor to the yard, and in the week after we got back, our first black swallowtail eggs of the year.
Pollinators became active, and we see a monarch butterfly lay eggs. Also, we continue to use iNaturalist to identify insects and weeds.
iNaturalist helps identify more weeds. I also use it to ID insects in the yard. Are they beneficial, or pests? That partially depends on your point of view.
It was a slow month for insects, but several plants were re-sprouting leaves, and we start tp see blueberry and lemon flowers. Also, iNaturalist identifies several weeds in the yard, arming me with the information I need to decide what stays and what goes.
A warmer than usual January had our flowers in various states. iNaturalist helps me identify a mysterious, unseasonable caterpillar and a few weeds.