Pollinators are a huge topic of conversation in conservation today, and that’s why we have added the Pollinator Paradise addition to the Dickinson County Nature Center. As we enter into discussions about pollinators, we hear a lot of myths and misconceptions. Let’s take a look at a few. 1. I don’t want bees in the…

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Photo of a honey possum on a flower

The pollinator world goes beyond just butterflies and bees, and it also goes beyond the borders of Iowa and the United States. Pollinators come in many shapes, sizes, colors and species, and they help plant communities around the world survive. (Eight forgotten pollinators) Let’s take a look at some interesting worldwide pollinators. North and South…

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Photo of a bee fly on a daffodil

Slugs to flies, moths to beetles — pollinators come in many shapes and sizes beyond butterflies and bees. These pollinators help one-third of human food sources to grow, but some have become so common that they are seen more like pests instead of beneficial insects, and some have even been eradicated to the point of…

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Graphic that says cardamom, cashews, cherries, chocolate, coconuts, coffee, coriander, cranberries

What if you couldn’t have any almonds or cashews in that nut mix you love to snack on? What if you couldn’t eat sesame chicken because sesame didn’t exist anymore? What if bananas, blueberries and tomatoes weren’t on the shelves anymore? One in three bites of food that we take is due to pollinators, and…

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Photo of a robber fly on dotted gayfeather

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about native bees, honeybees, butterflies and moths — but did you know that there are plenty of other types of pollinators out there? Hummingbirds Hummingbirds love flowers that are tubular, brightly colored, open during the day and have prolific nectar hidden deeply within. The ruby-throated hummingbird is the…

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Photo of colletes validus

Do you love blueberries? Then you should love the genus Colletes of native bees! These are one of several types of native bees that collect pollen from both highbush and lowbush blueberry flowers. Colletes validus has an elongated, narrow head that helps it fit into the tight flower opening where it eats nectar and collects pollen that will be transferred…

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Photo of a blue mason bee

Mason bee (Osmia lignaria) Mason bees might be the best pollinators of all bees. Instead of wetting pollen and putting it in pollen sacs like honeybees, mason bees are covered in hair that collects pollen as they move around, searching for nectar. They can certainly carry a lot of pollen and significant pollinators for apple, cherry…

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Graphic about monarch populations

Each winter, pollinator enthusiasts anxiously await monarch population numbers as eastern populations overwinter in the forests of Mexico. This winter, we have some less than ideal news as monarch overwintering numbers dropped by more than 50 percent from the 2018-19 season — going from 6.05 hectares of overwintering area covered last year to 2.83 hectares…

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Photo of an eastern swallowtail

More than 70 species of butterflies have been spotted in Dickinson County. And yet, the order Lepidoptera is made up of about 90 percent moths. So between butterflies and moths, there is a lot of fluttering action going on around us. (Learn the difference between butterflies and moths.) During the first Pollinator Education Series program, naturalist Ashley…

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