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Where are the Butterflies and Bees?

Posted Aug 11 2009 9:15am
Northern Pearly Eye

We are continuing to experience unusual summer weather this year. July was cold and wet and while the temperatures have warmed up in the past few days, we have been drenched by frequent heavy rains. Our lawn is thick and green and needs cutting twice a week. The garden is butterfly and bird friendly with plenty of flowers, milkweed, parsley and water.

My August Garden

In normal year we do not need to cut our grass in July and August as the lawns generally burn out and become dormant. My garden is lush and the tomato plants are over a metre and a half tall. But I have very few tomatoes developing even though the plants have plenty of blooms. My grape tomatoes have not yielded a single ripe fruit this month. It seems this weather has discouraged or destroyed many of our pollinators. Butterflies, bees and other flying insects are scarce.

Lots of meadow flowers but few butterflies

We went for a walk in a natural area close to home last week. The meadows and ponds attract many butterflies and dragonflies and I took pictures of a variety of species here last year. In an hour we saw one Monarch butterfly, two Yellow Swallowtails, half a dozen Cabbage Whites and a few grasshoppers and dragonflies. We did not encounter a single mosquito. The Northern Pearly Eye in the first photograph is the only butterfly I have encountered at close range this year.

I did find an active wasp nest high in a tree along a trail. I destroyed one last year which was being built under our picnic table but no wasps have even approached my hummingbird feeder this season. I seen hummingbirds only twice this summer and have heard other people comment that they are not around much.

I have added a link below to an article on the CBC website about the unfortunate state of Monarch Butterflies this year. Hopefully they will make a comeback in the future.
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