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Old 07-26-2010, 07:44 PM   #1
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Default Ants, Bees, Butterflies, and Nature

Ants Bees Butterflies and Nature is a blog I started a few years back. I post about the topics of the long winded title I chose.

I feel I bring a unique point of view certain topics. I started studying ants at a young age and have never stopped. Not only am I teaching myself ant taxonomy I'm making my own keys to species that are reasonably good. I hope to someday finish a book on the topic with a lengthy topic on preserving the environment and creating habitat. There are many parallels between ants colonies and plants, often the two go well together.

I'm also a beekeeper and have been working on an extensive pollinator garden. I'm very fortunate to have read Doug Tallamy's "Bringing Nature Home," early on before I planted something stupid. Removing a Golden Rain Tree as a sapling seemed so easier than had it been a full grown tree. I also removed the the Catmint before it escaped into the hedgerow and ally way between fences etc... As a member of the New Jersey Beekeeper's Association I can safely say there are a lot of stupid plants that beekeepers love. With the exception of Goldenrod, Honey Locust, and Anise Hyssop I can say none of the members were planting anything native. The newsletter sent to some 2000 members of New Jersey alone was proudly promoting Purple loosestrife. I've since voiced complaints and try to promote natives whenever I can. It usually boils down to impressing people with other aspects other than pollination such as Sunflowers for Goldfinches, and Milkweeds for Monarchs.
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:59 AM   #2
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Good ole Tallamy to the rescue again. You're not the first person I've heard say reading his book stopped them from planting something stupid. I didn't know you were a beekeeper. Makes sense..... you've got your hands in all the other good cookie jars already so I should have known. "The newsletter sent to some 2000 members of New Jersey alone was proudly promoting Purple loosestrife." You're kidding right?
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:37 PM   #3
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I'm not joking at all. The article was on planting for bees and Purple loosestrife was mentioned as though it were the topping on the cake. It read something like. "... and those who live near water ways should consider themselves blessed. Purple loosestrife is the best summer nectar flow thanks to this wonderful plant; long bloom period; it's everywhere; works in any garden," and so on to that extent. So I took issue with this, thankfully the newsletter only recommended 3 or 4 plants and one was Anise Hyssop (native). On a beekeeping forum I've been posting pictures and videos of good nectar sources, the majority of which are native. These do show up on my blog of course but visiting my youtube channel and photobucket account for Bees and Plants, which should all be public.
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:10 AM   #4
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I thought there was a big push 10 years ago to "educate" the bee folk about the disastrous consequences of planting their beloved purple loosestrife? Guess it didn't work. The "mainstream" butterfly folk are living back in the '40's and '50's promoting some pretty outrageous plants too. Come to think of it.... mainstream permaculture and some organic gardeners are growing some highly invasive plants you'd think everybody should know better than to grow by now so what are you going to do until the word gets out or until more of their plants end up on noxious weed lists.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:15 PM   #5
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Monarch Metamorphoses

I spent my morning documenting one caterpillar changing into a chrysalis. The process is very quick to start out, but forming the chrysalis takes 2 about once the caterpillar's skin is off.
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Ants, Bees, Butterflies, and Nature-monarchmorph1.jpg   Ants, Bees, Butterflies, and Nature-monarchmorph2.jpg   Ants, Bees, Butterflies, and Nature-monarchmorph5.jpg   Ants, Bees, Butterflies, and Nature-monarchmorph6.jpg   Ants, Bees, Butterflies, and Nature-monarchmorph8.jpg  

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Old 09-06-2011, 09:31 PM   #6
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Beautiful photos, Mr. I Love the Ants! My students got to see this happen for themselves this morning in class. We also saw two adults eclose. What a way to start the school year!

Really great photos! I enjoyed reading your blog as well.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:39 AM   #7
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Very nice photo sequence!
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:23 AM   #8
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There you go Equill, You were just talking about learning bee keeping. HINT HINT Maybe MrIlove you has a few pointers for you.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrILoveTheAnts View Post
Monarch Metamorphoses

I spent my morning documenting one caterpillar changing into a chrysalis. The process is very quick to start out, but forming the chrysalis takes 2 about once the caterpillar's skin is off.
Amazing series!
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:46 AM   #10
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MasterAnt> those photos are sooooo good they could be used in a Timber Press publication!!!
--
hava> "There you go Equill, You were just talking about learning bee keeping." I have his "goods" saved to my favorites just like I saved 4B's recipe. Not much escapes me when it's something I know for sure I'm gonna go for just as soon as I find time. I'm pretty sure next year's gonna be the year of the bee for me... I don't have time to build my own hive from scratch so it's gonna depend on the $$$ for getting set up with a store bought hive. Worse case scenario.... I buy some of what I'll need to get going next year then stash it and buy the rest the following year. It's just gonna depend on how much cash I need total. A goat would be cheaper... that's for sure since I've got folk who would give a dairy goat to me but.... I'm just not ready to go for goats and.... I've pretty much settled on the breed I want and that's not what's being offered to me for free but the biggie is there's nobody here into them like he's into bees so that'd means I'd "bee" on my own with a goat and I'm not up to "beeing" left on my own again.... the Indiana Jones style of "making it up" as you go just "plunging" in gets old. I was pretty much on my own with chickens and definitely did NOT like that feeling when things started going haywire. Making next year the year of the bee instead of the year of the goat just makes sense since I've got a good brain to tap into for help.... his brain. Besides.... it's something I've been wanting to do ever since I started reading his posts here and looking at his photos and then checking in at his blog. Then I started paying attention and saw hives around where I am and got "hive" envy.
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