Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife blog


Rebranding as Backyard Ecology and a Request for Help

~ Other News and Special Announcements ~   Hi Everyone! I started this blog 5 years ago, and over the years, it has grown beyond anything I originally dreamed of. I am very happy with the way it has grown, and now it’s time for the next big step in […]


Delay Mowing Fields Until After the First Frost

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   During the late summer and early fall, wildflowers such as goldenrods, thoroughworts, ironweeds, asters, and many others turn roadsides and fields into a pollinator oasis. Several of our butterfly species in the eastern U.S. migrate for the winter and rely on […]


Announcing Next Virtual Class: Fall Butterfly Gardening

Hi Everyone, My next virtual class is Fall Butterfly Gardening and will take place at 7:00 p.m. CT / 8:00 p.m. ET on Sept. 16, 2020. Details about the class are below. Please share this information with friends, family, garden club members, members of other relevant local organizations, Extension Agents, […]


Purple-headed Sneezeweed

~ Plant Highlights ~   Purple-headed sneezeweed (Helenium flexuosum) is a native wildflower in most of the eastern U.S. Although it can be a beneficial and unique addition to pollinator gardens, many people avoid this plant because of its common name. So, let’s address that concern to start with because […]


Four-toothed Mason Wasp

~ Profiles of Pollinators and Wildlife ~   I grew up thinking that wasps were horrible, awful creatures who took great pleasure in stinging anyone who got near them. The proliferation of wasp-related memes on the Internet suggest that I wasn’t the only one who grew up with that belief […]


Upcoming Class for Beekeepers

~ Other News and Special Announcements ~ Beekeepers often ask me, “What is this flower and will my bees use it?” Sometimes I know the answer and can tell them exactly what the flower is and whether or not honey bees are likely to use it. Other times, my answer […]


Bees and Butterflies around the Farm and Upcoming Events

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I love taking pictures of bees and butterflies on the late summer and early fall flowers around the farm. So, I thought for this week’s post, I would simply share some of the pollinator pictures I’ve taken over the last few days. At […]


Rough Sunflower

~ Plant Highlights ~   Helianthus hirsutus, a.k.a rough sunflower, hairy sunflower, or stiff-haired sunflower, is a native wildflower in much of the eastern and central U.S. Like its common names suggest, rough sunflower has hairy stems and leaves that give the plant a very rough texture. This rough texture […]


Try Mothing – Attracting and observing moths

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   While moths are often thought of as being drab and boring, they actually come in a wide range of colors and sizes. Some moths have pink and yellow stripes, others are snow white with black spots, others are pale green, […]


Carpenter Mimic Leafcutter Bee

~ Profiles of Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~     The carpenter mimic leafcutter bee (Megachile xylocopoides) can be found throughout most of the eastern U.S., although some of the sources I found seem to suggest that it might be more common in the southern portion of its range than […]


2020 Honey Harvest!

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I usually rotate through the various topics of this blog in a semi-regular order. But…I couldn’t wait another 3 weeks to share pictures of my July 4 honey harvest. This article consists of a photo and video montage giving you a behind the […]


Think About Layers

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Often times our humanmade landscapes consist of only one or two vertical layers, for instance an expanse of short, green grass with maybe a couple of tall shade trees. However, this is rarely the case in a healthy, natural ecosystem. In […]


Announcing Something New and It’s Almost Honey Harvesting Time

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Happy National Pollinator Week! The milkweed in our fields is in full bloom and the air has the most amazing vanilla-like scent. I’ve enjoyed watching all of the different bees, butterflies, and other milkweed flower visitors over the last week or so. I […]


Rattlesnake Master

~ Plant Highlights ~   Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium) is an unusual wildflower native to open areas in much of the central and eastern U.S. In the wild, it is an indicator of high-quality remnant prairie or barrens. It is also commonly included in prairie restoration or large pollinator plantings. […]


Black Swallowtail

~ Profile of Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   The black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) can be found throughout most of the eastern U.S. and parts of the southwestern U.S. They tend to be slightly smaller than the more familiar tiger swallowtails. Black swallowtails are most often found in open areas […]


Where are all the bees?

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   “I haven’t seen many bees this spring. Do you know what happened to them?” Is a question that I get 2-3 times each spring. This year is no different, and in fact, because everyone has been home more, I’ve gotten the […]


New Jersey Tea

~ Plant Highlights ~   New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus) is a low-growing, native shrub that can be found throughout most of the eastern half of the U.S. It is an interesting plant from both an ecological standpoint and from a historical / ethnobotanical standpoint. In the wild, New Jersey […]


Zebra Swallowtail

~ Profiles of Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   The zebra swallowtail (Protographium marcellus, formerly known as Eurytides marcellus) is native to the central and southern regions of the eastern U.S. It is more common in the southern parts of its range and less common the further north you go. […]


Leave Standing Dead Trees (When Safe)

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Standing dead trees, also known as snags, are extremely valuable to wildlife and even some pollinators. Just a few examples of how snags are used by wildlife and pollinators include: Beetle larvae and other wood boring insects create tunnels in the […]


Sweet Goldenrod

~ Plant Highlights ~ Sweet goldenrod (Solidago odora) is one of the over 30 species of goldenrods native to Kentucky according to the USDA Plant Database. This species of goldenrod is also native to most of the eastern U.S. (sorry Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Maine – it’s not native in […]


Eastern Phoebe

~ Profiles of Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   The eastern phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) is the flycatcher most likely to visit our yards. Eastern phoebes are grey to greyish-brown on top and a dirty white underneath. They are smaller than a robin, have a black bill, and often look like […]


Updates on native plants, duck eggs, and honey

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Hi Everyone, I hope you are staying safe and healthy in these crazy, uncertain times. With everything changing so rapidly, I wanted to give you an update of some of the changes I’m making with the farm and nursery. I have decided that […]


Springbeauty

~ Plant Highlights ~   The springbeauty (Claytonia virginica) is native to most of the eastern half of North America. It can be found growing in rich, moist woods and occasionally in semi-shaded lawns that don’t get mowed early in the season. Springbeauties prefer rich soils full of organic matter […]


How Life Has Simultaneously Changed and Stayed the Same

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Life as we know it has been turned upside down over the last couple of weeks. I’m lucky. I’m in the category where if I catch the coronavirus, I’ll probably be pretty miserable for a bit, but statistically should recover and be little […]


Spring Azure

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The spring azure (Celastrina ladon) is a common butterfly that can be found throughout much of the eastern U.S. It is one of the earliest butterflies to appear each year in our region. In Kentucky, spring azures can start flying as […]


Lots of Fun Stuff Happening

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   March and April promise to be busy months, but they always are. I’m in full production mode for the nursery, I’m going to several events and doing multiple talks, the bees are ramping up, the early spring wildflowers that I love to photograph […]


American Persimmon

~ Plant Highlights ~   The American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is a medium-sized tree that is native to most of the eastern half of the U.S. It grows in full sun and a wide variety of soils. The dark green leaves are your stereotypical “leaf shape” so aren’t much help […]


Big Brown Bat

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Wildlife ~   The big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) is one of our largest bat species in Kentucky and the eastern U.S. It is slightly shorter than the length of a dollar bill. Its wingspan which is measured from the tip of one outstretched wing […]


Create a Brush Pile

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Brush piles can provide important habitat for songbirds, lizards, snakes, rabbits, and other small mammals. While brush piles are sometimes thought of as “ugly,” they don’t have to be. There are some beautiful, native flowering vines which can be encouraged to […]


First Signs that Spring is Around the Corner

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   As I walked out to get the mail the other day, I noticed several harbinger-of-springs starting to bloom! Winter isn’t over yet – February and early March can bring our worst snow / ice storms – but it’s still exciting to find this […]


Ninebark

~ Plant Highlights ~   Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) is native to most of the eastern half of the U.S. In the wild, this shrub is often found along streambanks, woods edges, rocky slopes, and moist open areas. Although it is often found naturally in medium to moist locations, once established, […]


Luna Moth

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The luna moth (Actias luna) can be found throughout much of the eastern half of the U.S. It is one of our larger native moths with a wingspan of approximately 4 – 4.5 inches, or about as wide as one and […]


Provide Suet for Winter Birds

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   When we think about feeding the birds, we often envision bird feeders full of sunflower seeds or other types of bird seed. However during the winter, suet can also be a valuable addition to our bird feeding stations. Technically, suet is […]


New Year on the Farm and in the Nursery

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Ducks We’ve been spending a lot of time over the last couple of months working with the ducks. When we first got the ducks, our plan was to have a mobile house where they would go up at night and get let out […]


Happy New Year

Happy New Year!     Shannon Trimboli is a beekeeper, farmer, wildlife biologist, and author. She owns Grassy Roads Farm and Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting. Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting specializes in plants and habitat consulting services for honey bees, native pollinators, and wildlife conservation. In 2018, her first book, Plants Honey Bees […]


Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

From my family to yours: Happy holidays and a very merry Christmas!       Shannon Trimboli is a beekeeper, farmer, wildlife biologist, and author. She owns Grassy Roads Farm and Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting. Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting specializes in plants and habitat consulting services for honey bees, native pollinators, […]


Scaly Blazing Star

~ Plant Highlights ~   Scaly blazing star (Liatris squarrosa) is native to much of the U.S. and is one of approximately 10 species of blazing stars that are native to Kentucky. It grows naturally in sunny, open areas with thin, rocky or sandy soils. Scaly blazing star tends to […]


Dark-eyed Junco

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The winter birds have started showing up over the last several weeks and among them are the dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis). Dark-eyed juncos are in the sparrow family and can be found throughout most of North America. Like other sparrows, dark-eyed […]


Free Shipping on Book

~ Other News & Special Events ~ For Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday, I’m offering free shipping on my book, Plants Honey Bees Use in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. This is the first book to focus on the plants used by honey bees in […]


Happy Thanksgiving!

  I am eternally grateful for all the friends, family, and others who have supported and encouraged me on this amazing adventure. I wish each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving week filled with great memories, great food, and most importantly great people! Happy Thanksgiving!       Shannon Trimboli is […]


3 Easy Ways to Provide Bumble Bee Nesting Sites

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Bumble bees are important pollinators, but they don’t get the attention of their honey bee cousins. In the eastern U.S., there are 21 species of bumble bees, including the federally endangered rusty-patched bumble bee. Bumble bee queens emerge in the early […]


November Farm Life

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I really don’t know where this year went or how it is already mid-November. All I know is that this year has been a crazy, fun ride. I may not have accomplished everything I had hoped to do by this time in the […]


American Hazelnut

~ Plant Highlights ~   The American hazelnut (Corylus americana) is native throughout much of the eastern two thirds of the U.S. It grows in full sun to part shade, but produces more nuts in full sun, and will tolerate a wide variety of soils. This native shrub often forms […]


Eastern Screech Owl

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The eastern screech owl (Megascops asio) can be found in forested areas east of the Rocky Mountains. It is one of our smaller owls – only about as long as a cardinal from the tip of its head to the tip […]


Plant Native Trees and Shrubs in the Late Fall

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Although we often think of planting wildflowers and other herbaceous plants for pollinators, trees and shrubs can be extremely beneficial for pollinators. If those trees and shrubs are native, then they tend to support a wider variety of pollinators than their […]


It’s Finally Fall

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   It’s finally starting to feel like fall! I’m excited because not only is this my favorite time of year, but I’m also finally starting to get somewhat caught up from the hole I dug for myself by overscheduling stuff earlier in the year. […]


Staghorn Sumac

~ Plant Highlights ~   Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) is a tall shrub / small tree native to most of the eastern U.S. It grows naturally in open, disturbed sites and may form dense colonies or clumps. Note: Staghorn sumac and poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) are two different plants. They […]


Argiope Spider

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The argiope spider (Argiope aurantia) is a common spider throughout much of North America. Other common names for this spider include: the garden spider, the writing spider, the zig-zag spider, and the zipper spider. In many areas, they are a familiar […]


Only Mow Part of a Field Each Year

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   When mowing or bush hogging a field, only do approximately 1/2 to 1/3 of the field each year. This creates a more complex and multiple-aged habitat which benefits both wildlife and pollinators. For example, many of our butterflies will overwinter as […]


Seasonal Transitions

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The wetter than normal summer has created a beautiful display of fall wildflowers on the farm. Goldenrod, thoroughwort, asters, ironweed, and many others are in full bloom and many different species of bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles, and other insects are putting the […]


Virgin’s Bower

~ Plant Highlights ~   Virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana) is a native vine that grows throughout much of the eastern two thirds of the country. As the scientific name suggests, this is a native clematis and related to the exotic clematises that are common in the horticulture trade. In the […]


Common Buckeye

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The common buckeye (Junonia coenia) is a familiar summer and fall butterfly throughout much of the U.S. They are easy to observe because they are found in open fields and gardens, and they tend to fly relatively low. Common buckeyes will […]


Plant Native Perennial Wildflowers in the Fall

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   We always think of spring as the planting season, but fall is the perfect time to plant native, perennial wildflowers. When we plant in the spring, the flower has to divide its energy between establishing a strong root system and growing […]


August Ramblings

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   How did it get to be mid-August already? This year has flown by and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. Here’s a quick recap of some of the things that have been happening lately and that are coming […]


Joe-pye Weed

~ Plant Highlights ~   Joe-pye weeds are tall, native wildflowers that produce a large, pink cluster of flowers in the late summer / fall. Five species of joe-pye weeds (Eutrochium sp.) can be found in the eastern U.S. The three most common species are hollow joe-pye weed (Eutrochium fistulosa), […]


Green Darner Dragonfly: A Migratory Dragonfly

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Dragonflies of various different species are common visitors to flower gardens and patches of tall grass, especially if there is water nearby. (When resting, dragonflies always hold their wings flat and perpendicular to their bodies; damselflies always hold their wings straight […]


Plant Native Grasses

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Wait a minute. Plant grasses? I thought there was a push among those gardening for pollinators and wildlife to reduce yards and grassy areas…. Well, yes, to all of that. The key point here is to plant native grasses like […]


How Honey is Harvested and Extracted

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I celebrated July 4 by harvesting honey from a few of my hives. I was very grateful that Anthony was able and willing to help. I could have done it by myself, but it made the process much easier to have another set […]


Shrubby St. John’s Wort

~ Plant Highlights ~   Shrubby St. John’s wort (Hypericum prolificum) is a native shrub throughout most of the eastern half of the U.S. It can be 2-5 feet tall and grows in a wide variety of soils. It grows in full sun to partial shade, but prefers more sun. […]


Trail cameras for Pollinators

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   In previous articles, I’ve talked about various ways to attract pollinators and wildlife. However, part of the fun of attracting them is getting to watch them, and not all of our pollinators and wildlife will tolerate having a human observer nearby. […]


Robber Flies

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Our gardens and yards can hold rich ecosystems with both predators and prey. One group of those predators are the robber flies. Robber flies are in the family Asilidae and can be found throughout the most of the world. Several different […]


Honey Harvest Coming Soon

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Bees I’m super excited! Before long, I should be able to have my first real honey harvest. (We’ve taken a couple little bits for ourselves in the past, but nothing more than a taste or two.) I started my beekeeping journey focused on […]


Bicolored Sweat Bee

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The bicolored sweat bee (Agapostemon virescens) is a common native bee throughout much of the U.S. It is fairly easy to recognize because its head and thorax are metallic green and its abdomen is striped (usually). White and black stripes mean […]


Hive Inspection Photos and Descriptions

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   As many of you know, several months ago I began sharing short videos of wildlife on our farm to Facebook almost every Friday. Last Friday, instead of sharing a video I decided to share some pictures of a hive inspection I did earlier […]


Purple Coneflower

~ Plant Highlights ~   Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a perennial wildflower native to most of the eastern 2/3 of the U.S. In the wild it is found in open prairies and meadows. It is also commonly planted in prairie restoration sites or similar settings and has become a […]


Plant Flowers that Open at Different Times of the Day

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   When a flower opens, or at least when it produces nectar, is often timed with when its natural pollinators are active. For example, squash flowers open very early in the day and close by the middle of the day. That is […]


Common Evening Primrose

~ Plant Highlights ~   The common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) is a native wildflower in most of the U.S. It is found naturally in sunny fields, roadsides, prairies, and disturbed areas. Common evening primrose can also be grown in the garden as a native wildflower. It is a biennial, […]


Carolina Chickadee

~ Profiles of Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~ Carolina chickadees (Poecile carolinensis) are small, inquisitive, and vocal songbirds with black, grey, and white feathers. They are non-migratory and can be found throughout the southeastern U.S in areas with mature woods, including older subdivisions and wooded urban areas. Despite their […]


Container Gardens for Pollinators

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Many people live in apartments or other locations where they aren’t able to plant large flower beds or gardens. Their gardening efforts may be restricted to a few containers on a small patio. I talk to people all the time […]


Crazy Month

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Lessons Learned This month has been an absolute whirlwind of activity. If I’ve been slow to respond to emails, texts, or Facebook messages please forgive me. It’s been all I could do just to try and keep up with everything I committed to […]


Jacob’s Ladder

~ Plant Highlights ~   Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans) is one of our native, ephemeral wildflowers. It grows in rich, open woodlands throughout much of the eastern U.S. It is a relatively short plant, only growing to around a foot tall. The leaves are compound and are said to resemble […]


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) is a familiar visitor to backyards throughout the eastern U.S. Tiger swallowtails are one of our largest butterfly species with wingspans between 3 and 5.5 inches wide. Because they are so large and so […]


Pine for Carpenter Bees

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Ok, this tip isn’t so much about attracting pollinators and backyard wildlife as it is about avoiding or mitigating issues. Carpenter bees are valuable native pollinators that play an important role in our ecosystem. However, it can be hard to […]


Eastern Columbine

~ Plant Highlights ~   The eastern columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is a perennial wildflower native to much of the eastern U.S. It often grows in rocky or sandy soils and in open woods. Columbines are perennials, but will also readily self-seed if the conditions are favorable. Their self-seeding ability means […]


Bumble Bees

~ Profiles of Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   There are approximately 250 species of bumble bees worldwide with approximately 50 of those being native to North America. According to Bumble Bees of the Eastern United States, 21 species occur from the east coast to the western boundaries of […]


Let Cool Weather Crops and Deer Food Plots Bloom

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   In the late winter and early spring, many people plant cool weather crops in their gardens. These often include things like broccoli, kale, and cabbage. All of these are in the mustard family. In rural areas, many people also plant […]


March on the Farm

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   It’s March and everything is starting to wake back up as winter slowly starts to give way to spring. However, this is also Kentucky, which means winter isn’t over yet. Yesterday it was snowing and today it isn’t supposed to get above freezing, […]


Rough-leafed Dogwood

~ Plant Highlights ~   The rough-leafed dogwood (Cornus drummondii) is one of five species of dogwoods native to Kentucky. It can be found growing in thickets, open woodlands, edges of fields or creeks, and savannahs. Rough-leafed dogwoods can grow 15-20 feet tall and will often send up new shoots […]


Not All Flower Visitors are Pollinators

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   We often think of all bees, butterflies, and other insect visitors to flowers as pollinators, especially if we see them actively gathering pollen or drinking nectar. However, that’s not actually true. Not everything that visits a flower is a pollinator for […]


Hover flies on dandelion.

5 Things to Consider Before You Spray

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Each year as the weather warms up and we get closer to spring, the number of TV commercials for herbicides increases as well as the number of posts I see on social media about homemade herbicides. The homemade herbicides are […]


Taking the Leap

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I always look forward to this February warm-up. It’s a little taste of spring. It means the red maples will be blooming soon. It triggers the wood frogs and some of our salamanders to start breeding. It also means that although spring isn’t […]


Poison Ivy

~ Plant Highlights ~   Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a common and much-hated native plant that can be found throughout the eastern half of the continent. It seems to grow pretty much anywhere and the allergic reactions it can cause are infamous. However, no matter how much we may […]


Northern Cardinal

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis), often simply called “cardinals,” are a favorite backyard visitor for many people. Cardinals can be found throughout most of the eastern half of North America. It is the state bird for seven different states (IL, IN, KY, […]


New Changes for the New Year

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   As we move into the new year, I’m really excited about the way things are shaping up. I have a feeling that this year is going to be a year of changes. Of course, that’s usually the case. Nothing really stays the same […]


Happy New Year – 2019

Thank you all for being part of my 2018 adventure. Hopefully 2019 will hold many more exciting and joyous adventures for all of us.     Shannon Trimboli is a beekeeper, farmer, wildlife biologist, and author. She owns Grassy Roads Farm and Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting. Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting specializes […]


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wishing all of you a season filled with family, friends, and warm memories.       Shannon Trimboli is a beekeeper, farmer, wildlife biologist, and author. She owns Grassy Roads Farm and Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting. Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting specializes in plants and habitat consulting services for honey bees, native […]


3 Ways to Turn Christmas Trees into Wildlife Habitat

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   This is the time of year when Christmas trees seem to be everywhere. After the Christmas season, many of those trees are hauled out to the curb to be hauled to the landfill. However, did you know that if you […]


Getting Ready for the New Year

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Now that winter has mostly set in, I’m obviously not spending as much time working with my bees. However, I still have to monitor their food stores and make sure they don’t run out. I couldn’t believe it when I used my thermal […]


American Holly

~ Plant Highlight ~   The American holly (Ilex opaca) is a native evergreen tree that grows throughout much of the eastern half of the country. In the wild, it can be found growing in rich, well-drained (but not super dry), slightly acidic soils. It prefers mostly sunny areas, but […]


Provide Winter Habitat for Butterflies and Moths

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   If you are like me, winter is not typically when you think about providing habitat for butterflies and moths. In fact, until I started researching and learning about pollinators, I never even thought about how butterflies and moths survive the winter. […]


2018 Holiday Sale

For Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday, I am offering free shipping on my book plus 10% of your order will be donated to honey bee research. This offer is only valid for books ordered from my website between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2, 2018. Must […]


Short’s Aster

~ Plant Highlights ~   Short’s aster (Symphyotrichum shortii) is a native wildflower that can be found in Kentucky, Tennessee, and most of the surrounding states. It’ll grow to about 3 feet tall. The upper portion of the stem and upper leaves have tiny, stiff hairs that give the plant […]


Red Bats

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) is a common bat throughout much of the eastern U.S. It is one of our larger bats at approximately 4-5 inches long. The wingspan of a red bat is between 11 and 13 inches or […]


Leave Flower Stems for Bees and Small, Solitary Wasps

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Fall is a time when many people “put their gardens to bed” by cutting back their dead flowers and cleaning up their gardens before winter. However, if attracting pollinators to your garden is one of your goals, then you might want […]


Speaking Engagements and Working in the Apiary

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Fall has finally arrived and with it has come a rush to get all of the end of season chores done. It seems like as the days grow shorter, my to do list grows longer. I love what I’m doing though and that […]


Downy Woodpecker

~ Profiles of Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Downy woodpeckers can be found in a variety of habitats throughout Kentucky and the surrounding states. They can often be found in backyards and can be frequent visitors to bird feeders and suet feeders, especially in the winter. In fact, although […]


Leave Hummingbird Feeders Up for Fall Migration

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Over the next several weeks, our hummingbird numbers will begin to drastically decline as they leave for their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America. Growing up, I always heard that you should take your hummingbird feeders down in the fall […]


Busy Last Few Weeks

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The last few weeks have been busy at the farm. Our fields are ablaze with goldenrods and the hives have taken on the distinctive smell of old, sweaty socks. For those who don’t know, when honey bees are working goldenrod flowers, the hives […]


White Wingstem

~ Plant Highlight ~   White wingstem (Verbesina virginica), a.k.a. white crownbeard, a.k.a. frostweed, a.k.a. frostflower, is a native, fall-blooming, perennial wildflower. White wingstem blooms from Aug. through Oct. in Kentucky, and grows in medium to slightly moist, open woodlands and fields. It can reach over 5 feet tall. Honey […]


Goldenrod Crab Spider

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   As the fields turn yellow with goldenrods, it is fun to watch all of the pollinators that are attracted to these abundant sources of late-season nectar and pollen. Goldenrods are a great place to watch butterflies, bees, wasps, beetles, and many other […]


Leave Seed Heads for Songbirds

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   As we begin the transition from summer to fall, many of our summer flowers are starting to go to seed. It is often tempting to cut off the seed heads in an attempt to make our gardens looks neater, especially if you […]


Lots of Exciting News and Upcoming Activities

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Wow! The past two weeks or so have been crazy, but in a very good way. Lots of exciting things have happened, have been planned, and are on the horizon waiting to happen. In fact, so much is going on that I […]


Native Bees and Wasps around the Farm

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The late summer and early fall wildflowers around the farm are magnets for many different types of pollinators. Last week, I shared pictures of some of the butterflies that are visiting our flowers. This week, I’m sharing photos of some of the native […]


Cup plant

~ Plant Highlight ~   Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) is a tall wildflower that is native to Kentucky and much of the eastern U.S. It commonly grows 4-6 feet tall and has been known to grow even taller in ideal conditions. Once established, cup plant spreads both by seeds and […]


Hoverfly

~ Profiles of Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   When is a bee not a bee? When it is a hoverfly! Hoverflies are flies that look like bees or wasps. Their disguise is very good and casual observers often mistake them for small bees or wasps. Hoverflies, also known as […]


Leave Fields of Fall Wildflowers for Pollinators

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Late summer and fall wildflowers such as ironweed, joe-pye-weed, goldenrod, native sunflowers, and asters are important late sources of pollen and nectar for many species of butterflies and bees. If possible, allow these plants to flower in fields and open areas. […]


Butterflies on the Farm

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I took some time this week to walk around the farm and take pictures of the different insects on the wildflowers we have growing in our fields and flower gardens. Below are pictures of some of the butterflies I found. Next week, I’ll […]


Goldenrods

~ Plant Highlight ~   Goldenrods (Solidago spp.) are in the aster family – the same family as daisies, sunflowers, and asters. The USDA Plants Database lists 33 species of goldenrods that are native to Kentucky. Two of those species, the white-haired goldenrod (Solidago albopilosa) and Short’s goldenrod (Solidago shortii) […]


Bumblebee Moths

The bumblebee moth (Hemaris diffinis) is a diurnal moth that mimics a bumblebee with its yellowish or tannish body with black wings. It is also sometimes called a hummingbird moth, but that name is more appropriately given to another species, Hemaris thysbe, which looks more like a hummingbird with its […]


Create Mudding Spots for Butterflies

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Butterflies will often congregate around mud puddles, or even just damp soil. These congregation areas are called mudding or puddling spots. Butterflies are drawn to them for the salts and minerals that are dissolved in the water. You can create an […]


Not at Farmer’s Market

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~ After spending every Saturday since the end of April at the Farmers’ Market, the next three Saturdays are going to feel a little weird. The reason is that I won’t be at the market. Instead, I’ll be a butterfly workshop this Saturday and then […]


Passionflower

~ Plant Highlights ~   Passionflower (Passiflora incarnate) is a deciduous vine native to most of the eastern U.S. and a few states west of the Mississippi River. It is often found trailing along the ground or climbing up nearby vegetation in sunny areas. The passionflower is the state wildflower of […]


Planning for Next Year’s Plants

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Many people who subscribe to this blog are also interested in planting for pollinators and wildlife. However, not everyone also subscribes to my other blogs and on Friday my Grassy Roads Farm Life blog dealt with a topic that I think many […]


Let Herbs Go to Flower

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Herbs taste better before they go to flower, which is why people are often encouraged to pinch off any flower buds that begin to form. However, at some point in mid to late summer, most people have gathered all the herbs […]


What is on your plant wish list for next year?

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   It may seem early, but I am already thinking about what to grow for next year. Currently I’m just making a “wish list” of plants to consider and am beginning to look for sources of seed for some of the potential new species. […]


Cicada Killers

~ Profiles of Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Cicada killers (Sphecius speciosus) are large, solitary wasps that are active from June until September. There are actually four different species of cicada killers in North America, and this species is more appropriately called the eastern cicada killer. However, since it is […]


Plant Taller Milkweeds Species for Monarchs

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   A recently published study by researchers at the University of Kentucky compared monarch butterfly usage of seven species of milkweed in small, urban garden settings. The two-year study, found more monarch caterpillars and eggs on the taller species (swamp milkweed, common milkweed, […]


What to do with egg cartons

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   “I have a bunch of empty egg cartons. Would you like them?” is a common question that I get at the farmers market. My answer always comes as a surprise, “No, it is actually illegal to reuse egg cartons.” I know, many people […]


Grey-headed Coneflower

~ Plant Highlight ~   The grey-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) is a perennial wildflower native to most of the eastern U.S. It grows naturally in dry prairies and barrens. Grey-headed coneflowers have also become a favorite addition to prairie restoration areas, pollinator plantings, and wildflower gardens. Another common name for […]


Painted Ladies

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Painted ladies (Vanessa cardui) are common Kentucky butterflies that can be found on every continent except Antarctica and Australia. It is often considered the most globally widespread butterfly in the world. Painted ladies are primarily orange and brown with some white highlights. […]


Install a Bat House

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Bats play an important role in our ecosystem. Between 15 and 20 species of bats are regularly found in the eastern U.S., with a few other species showing up occasionally. All of the bats that live in the eastern U.S. are […]


Mite Counts in the Beeyard

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I have to admit, this is my least favorite time of the year. It is hot, humid, and absolutely miserable. Last week, the heat indexes were well over 100 degrees and just walking outside made me feel like I was melting. As much […]


Buttonbush

~ Plant Highlight ~   Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a deciduous shrub native to the eastern half of the U.S. It can be found growing naturally along creeks, ponds, lakes, and other fairly wet areas. Buttonbush can also be grown as a native ornamental in mostly sunny areas where the […]


Leafcutter Bees

~ Profiles of Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   Leafcutter bees (Megachile spp.) are solitary native bees. There are many different species of leafcutter bees with over a thousand species worldwide. In North America, there are around 140 native species of leafcutter bees. Unfortunately, I can’t find a good […]


Incorporate Native Plants into Your Landscape

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Incorporating native plants into your landscape can be a simple and effective way to attract pollinators and wildlife to your yard. While you can choose to plant only natives, you can also choose to have a mix of native and non-native […]


Happy 4th of July

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~ Hi Everyone, I’m taking this week off from posting blogs. Hope you and your family have a great 4th of July. Shannon      


Milkweed Math

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Although native wildflowers are adapted to our crazy weather and soils, they can be difficult to start from seed in a nursery setting. Many need special treatments in order to germinate. Often the treatments need to be done for between one and three […]


Slender Mountain Mint

~ Plant Highlights ~   Slender mountain mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium) is one of nine species of mountain mints native to Kentucky. Mountain mints are in the mint family, but despite their name are not restricted to mountainous regions. They can be found growing throughout the state and many of the […]


Provide Water for Birds

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   In nature, birds use puddles, rocky creeks, and other shallow water sources to bathe and drink. However, during the hot, dry, summer months, many of these water sources may dry up. Providing birds and other wildlife with a reliable source of […]


Pollinators at Grassy Roads Farm

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   This week was National Pollinator Week, so I thought I would share some of the pollinators that I have been seeing around the farm. I had hoped to include pictures of beautiful butterflies feeding on our milkweed and other native wildflowers this week. […]


Appreciating the Wide Diversity of Bees

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   If asked to picture a bee, most people will think of a honey bee. A few people might think of a bumble bee, a carpenter bee, or maybe a sweat bee, but they will be in the minority and rarely will anyone […]


7 Tips for Planting for Butterflies

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Butterfly gardens are growing in popularity. When done properly, they can be a great way to attract these beautiful pollinators to your yard. Here are seven tips for creating a butterfly garden. 1) Think about what species of butterflies you want […]


Bees, Bees, and More Bees

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   This spring we put a few swarm traps up around the farm. A swarm trap is an empty hive, often with a little old comb, that is placed somewhere in the hopes that a swarm will find it and decide to move in. […]


False Indigo Bush

~ Plant Highlight ~   False indigo bush (Amorpha fruticosa) is a member of the legume or pea family. It is native to Kentucky and much of the eastern U.S. The leaves look very similar to the leaves of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) which is also in the pea family. […]


White-tailed Deer

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   White-tailed deer are native to much of the U.S. In pre-settlement times they were very common throughout the eastern U.S. However, several factors such as habitat loss, unrestricted hunting, and predation or harassment by dogs, caused the population to decline drastically. By […]


Plant Vegetables and Herbs in Small Places

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   I’ve been asked multiple times what someone can plant for pollinators if they only have a small space. Obviously the definition of “small space” varies from one person to the next, but typically the person asking has anything from a patio […]


Duck Eggs vs. Chicken Eggs: Size

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   “Wow! Those are a lot bigger.” Is a comment that I commonly get when I show people my duck eggs at the farmer’s market. In general, duck eggs tend to be 1.5 to 2 times bigger than chicken eggs. However, there is a […]


Squash bees

~Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Every summer, squash and gourds of all sizes and shapes to begin their annual takeover of local gardens and farmer’s markets. While squash and gourds are well-known and much loved, the native bees that specialize in pollinating these plants are less well-known. All […]


Plant Wild-Type or Old-Fashioned Varieties

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   When planting for pollinators, choose wild-type of old-fashioned varieties. Often as plants are bred to be showier and more ornamental, they lose their ability to produce as much nectar and pollen. This makes them less attractive to pollinators. Ornamental roses are […]


A Busy Week of Events

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The nursery plants keep growing, the ducks keep laying, and the bees are bringing in lots of nectar. All the normal stuff continues to happen on the farm and in the nursery. I’m excited that we’re also finally getting some rain. We must […]


Anise Hyssop

~ Plant Highlight ~   Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is also commonly known as blue giant hyssop and lavender hyssop. Occasionally, it will also be called by the name of its genus, Agastache. Anise hyssop is a perennial wildflower native to Kentucky, although it is much more common in the […]


Fireflies and Lightning Bugs

~ Profiles of Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   I have always loved watching fireflies and lightning bugs dance in the backyard. They are one of my favorite insects and bring back lots of childhood memories. Even today, I will run outside to watch the first fireflies of the year […]


Lance-Leaf Coreopsis

~ Plant Highlight ~   Lance-leaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) is native to most of the continental U.S. It is one of eight species of coreopsis native to Kentucky and is the species that is the most common. Other names for lance-leaf coreopsis include tickseed and sand coreopsis. The name tickseed […]


Monarch Butterflies and Their Migration

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The monarch butterfly is one of the most widely recognized and celebrated butterflies in the U.S. For many of us, the love affair started in grade school when we learned about the monarch’s migration and their giant winter clusters in Mexico. The […]


Make a Bee Waterer

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Many pollinators will get much of the water they need from the nectar they drink. However, sometimes they need access to additional water sources. Honey bees, especially, need access to lots of water during the summer because they use water to […]


A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The bees are going crazy building comb, raising brood, and storing nectar. It seems like everything has bloomed at once this spring. Two swarms moved into my empty top bars this week. That brings my hive total up from one at the beginning […]


Swarms and Trap-outs

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   April and May are extremely busy months on the farm. Between taking care of the ducks, working with the bees, transplanting all of the nursery plants that have suddenly decided to grow like crazy, and doing a variety of other projects on the […]


Swamp Milkweed

~ Plant Highlight ~   Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is one of 13 milkweed species native to Kentucky. It can be from 3-6 feet tall, but 3-4 feet is more common. Swamp milkweed has clusters of pink flowers that bloom from June through August, depending on the plant and whether […]


Help Scientists Learn about Nesting Success

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   Many people put up birdhouses to attract nesting birds. Even without putting up a birdhouse, it isn’t uncommon to find a nest in your yard or at a nearby park. When we lived in town, I frequently had robins build nests in […]


Mow Yards Less Frequently

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   In March 2018, researchers published a new study about the effects of lawn mowing frequency on bee populations in urban yards. Yards in the study were mowed at 1-, 2-, or 3-week intervals throughout the growing season. Before the yards were mowed, […]


Duck Eggs, Farmers Market, and Learning to Balance Everything

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The ducks are laying again! Actually, they have been for about a month, but I kind of goofed. In my excitement over having my book published, I agreed to teach at several bee schools and participate in several other Saturday events in April. […]


Black Locusts

~ Plant Highlight ~   Black locusts (Robinia pseudoacacia) are tall trees native to the Appalachian region and parts of the Ozarks, but they have been widely planted across the U.S. and in parts of Canada. They have even been imported to other parts of the world where they are […]


Great Spangled Fritillary

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   Great spangled fritillary butterflies (Speyeria cybele) are medium-sized butterflies commonly found in meadows, fields, and yards across Kentucky and many of the surrounding states. Its wingspan is approximately 2.5 to 3.5 inches wide. The name fritillary is derived from a Latin word […]


10 Tips for Feeding Hummingbirds

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Many people enjoy feeding hummingbirds during the summer. In Kentucky and the rest of the eastern U.S., the hummingbird that we are feeding is the ruby-throated hummingbird. It is the only hummingbird that nests in the eastern U.S. Below are 10 […]


Taking a Break to Enjoy the Wildflowers

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The end of March and all of April has been insanely busy. I’ve been running all over the state giving talks and selling my book. All of my seeds that germinated are growing rapidly and are looking really healthy. Despite the cold weather, […]


Upcoming Events for Local Folks

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   Hi Everyone, I wanted to quickly let you know about a couple of events coming up in the next few days. Saturday, April 21, is the SoKY Earth Day Festival. This event will take place on the square in Franklin, KY from […]


Highbush Blueberry

~ Plant Highlight ~   The highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) is a native to many parts of the eastern U.S. including Kentucky. It is a tall shrub that can be found growing in sunny locations that typically have relatively moist, but well drained, acidic soil. The highbush blueberry is also […]


Great Horned Owl

~ Kentucky Pollinator and Backyard Wildlife ~   Great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) are the largest owl found in Kentucky and surrounding states. Both males and females look alike, and their horns are actually just feathers. Great horned owls don’t migrate and a pair will defend the same territory year-round. […]


Turn Unneeded Lights Off at Night

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Most of us probably don’t realize just how busy the nightlife can be from an animal’s perspective. Just because the sun goes down and people tend to migrate inside our well-lit homes, doesn’t mean that wildlife and pollinators do the same […]


Salad Buffets and Crazy Weather

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Kentucky weather has always been crazy. Kentuckians are proud of that fact. I grew up hearing “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change.” In today’s age of social media, numerous memes exist about our crazy weather. However, […]


Where Can You Find My Book?

“Where can I find your book?” is a question that I have been asked numerous times over the last couple of months. To answer the question, I have put together a list of where you can purchase my book. I’ll keep the list updated on my website as new locations […]


Flowering Dogwood

~ Plant Highlight ~   The flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is a small tree or tall shrub native to much of the eastern U.S. It is probably the most familiar of our native dogwoods and is the one that most people are referring to when they say “dogwood.” In addition […]


Southeastern Blueberry Bee

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   The southeastern blueberry bee (Habropoda laboriosa) is a native bee found in much of the eastern U.S. It is approximately a half inch long and looks kind of like a small bumble bee. Like its name suggests, the southeastern blueberry bee forages […]


Help Scientists Learn about Pollinators and Wildlife in Your Area

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Attracting pollinators and wildlife to our backyards and property can be fun and interesting for us while providing beneficial habitat to the critters we attract. However, did you know that at the same time you can be helping scientists learn more […]


Common Blue Violet

~ Plant Highlight ~   There are over 20 different species of violets native to Kentucky and the surrounding states. Probably the most common of these species is the common blue violet (Viola sororia). The common blue violet grows in a wide range of habitats including meadows, parks, open woods, […]


Spring Peepers

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   Spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) are small frogs that can be found throughout most of the eastern U.S. They are very common throughout most of their range. Spring peepers range in color from tan to grey and have an “X” on their back. […]


Choose the Right Type of Birdhouse

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Birdhouses are often promoted as one way to attract nesting birds, primarily songbirds, to your property. But did you know that different types of birdhouses will attract different types of birds? Or that not all birds will use birdhouses? Or that […]


Serviceberry

~ Plant Highlight ~   Serviceberries (Amelanchier spp.) are small trees or large shrubs that typically grow to around 10-15 feet tall, but occasionally can be taller. There are multiple different species of serviceberry throughout the U.S. and Canada. In fact, every state except for Hawaii has a native species […]


Early Hairstreak

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The early hairstreak (Erora laeta) is a small butterfly native to Kentucky. It is only a little less than an inch from the tip of one outstretched wing to the tip of the other outstretched wing. In other words, its wings would […]


Plant Different Shapes, Sizes, and Colors of Flowers

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators & Wildlife ~   Different species of pollinators are attracted to different shapes, sizes, and colors of flowers. For example, hummingbirds love red flowers with long narrow flower tubes. However, many bees don’t see the color red and don’t have long enough proboscises (tongues) to […]


Seedlings, Seedlings, and More Seedlings

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The seedlings have really started to take off. This week I’ve spent a significant amount of time transplanting seedlings and am almost out of room in the basement. I’m also very grateful that I’m not too old for Mommy to come to the […]


Redbuds

~ Plant Highlight ~   Eastern redbuds (Cercis canadensis) are small trees or tall shrubs that are native to much of the eastern U.S. In the early spring, redbuds produce clusters of pink flowers. Redbuds bloom before the leaves have started to appear on most trees and their pretty pink […]


To Bee Keep or Not to Bee Keep – Repost

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~ It is the time of year when many people begin thinking about becoming beekeepers. I love being a beekeeper and enjoy helping new beekeepers. However, beekeeping isn’t easy. There is a lot of work involved and it isn’t for everyone. One of the […]


Break Big Projects into Smaller Projects

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   When planning a large, new pollinator garden or wildlife habitat project, it is easy to get carried away and try to take on too much at once. If you are thinking about starting a big, new project this year, I encourage […]


The Honey Bees are Bringing in Pollen

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   This week’s snowfall did little to slow the arrival of spring. (Check out my Facebook page for pictures of the farm in the snow.) The trees are still blooming and my bees are still bringing in lots of pollen and nectar. Bees bringing […]


Spicebush

~ Plant Highlight ~   Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is a native shrub that is commonly found in rich, moist woods throughout Kentucky. It blooms in the early spring, usually March or April, before its leaves appear. The small yellow flowers are grouped in clusters along the branches. Spicebush is a […]


Carolina wren

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   The Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is a common visitor to backyards throughout Kentucky and much of the eastern U.S. Both the male and the female look alike. These chestnut-colored, medium-sized, songbirds have a ton of personality and are very vocal. Although you […]


Don’t Bring Hummingbirds Inside to Warm Up

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   You don’t have to live in Kentucky long to figure out that Kentucky weather can be a bit crazy. Seventy degree weather one day and snow the next? Yep, we can do that. Noooo problem. I know many of our neighbors […]


The Ducks are Laying!

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I’m so excited – the ducks started laying this week! The Muscovy ducks laid the first two eggs of the year on Sunday, March 4. The next day two of the new ducks started laying. (I’m trying to break my habit of calling […]


Elms

~ Plant Highlight ~   Elms are deciduous trees and many species can be found in different parts of the world. In Kentucky, we have four species of native elms – the American elm (Ulmus americana), slippery elm (U. rubra), winged elm (U. alata), and rock elm (U. thomasii). Other […]


Mining Bees

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   Mining bees or miner bees are some of our earliest native bees to become active in the spring. All of the bees in the genus Adrena are commonly referred to as mining bees. It is estimated that there are over 400 species […]


Provide Habitat for Ground Nesting Bees

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   It is estimated that approximately 70% of bees native to the U.S. nest in the ground. Depending on the species, ground nesting bees may spend as much as 11 months underground developing from an egg into an adult bee. The adult […]


Behind the Fun Outside Stuff

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   If you are like me, then you tend to think of farm life as taking care of plants and animals and just generally being outside. True, that is a big part of farming and it is the fun side. However, running a successful […]


American Woodcock

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Wildlife ~   The American woodcock (Scolopax minor), also known as the timberdoodle, is a funny looking bird whose mating display represents one of the early signs of spring for many parts of eastern North America. It can be found in young, wet woodlands, especially where […]


Clean and Repair Birdhouses

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   Spring is rapidly approaching and some of the early nesting songbirds are starting to re-establish their territories. Now is the time to clean and inspect your birdhouses if you haven’t already done so. Even if you cleaned and inspected your birdhouse […]


Ducks and Plants and More Signs of Spring

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   This has been an interesting week on the farm. The big girls (our original ducks) have been getting out of their fence more and checking out their old nesting sites. They’ve even begun to reform some of the old nests again. Not to […]


Pussy Willow

~ Plant Highlight ~   Different species of willow can be found throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. There are several species native to Kentucky and several exotic species can be found growing as ornamentals. The pussy willow (Salix discolor) is perhaps our most familiar native willow, even though it […]


Hummingbird Moths and Bumblebee Moths

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   The warm weather this week and the seeds sprouting in my nursery have me dreaming of spring. I also recently started stratifying some milkweed seeds for the nursery, which got me thinking about the bumble bee moths that I enjoy watching each […]


Planting Native Seeds

~Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   When it comes to planting native wildflowers for pollinators, just scattering some seeds in a flower bed may not be enough. Some wildflowers will sprout like that, but the seeds of many species need to be treated before they will germinate. Those […]


First Signs of Spring

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   It may only be mid-February, but the first hints of spring are showing up in force at the farm. The spring peepers have been calling the last few nights as I put the ducks up, which has been a nice distraction because the […]


Red maples

~ Plant Highlight ~   February is a busy month in Kentucky. Regardless of what the groundhog says, it is the transition between winter and spring. It is when we are most likely to have our major snow and ice storms, often right before or after a string of spring-like […]


Striped Skunks

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   Skunks may not be the first animal that pops into your mind for backyard wildlife, but they are common visitors to many yards. Because they are active at dusk and during the night, they often go unobserved. Despite their infamous defense mechanism, […]


Include a Mason Bee House on Your Property

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   You don’t have to be a beekeeper to provide a home for bees on your property. Mason bees are a group of bees native to the U.S. They are important pollinators that nest in hollow grasses and other tubes. Mason bees […]


Announcing 2018 Plant List – Now Taking Pre-orders

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The initial 2018 plant list is now available! I consider this a tentative list and may decide to add additional plants as the season goes along or may have to pull some plants due to unforeseen circumstances like poor germination. You can always […]


Butterfly Milkweed

~ Plant Highlight ~   Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is one of several milkweed species native to Kentucky and the eastern U.S. It is a perennial and relatively easy to identify because it is our only orange milkweed. Unlike other milkweed species, this one lacks the characteristic milky sap. Butterfly […]


The Great Backyard Bird Count is Just around the Corner

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   Each year the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society host the Great Backyard Bird Count. The count is always held in mid-February. Everyone is welcome to participate in the count and despite the name, you don’t have to do […]


Plant in Mass to Attract Pollinators

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~ Pollinators are more attracted to clumps of the same type of flower, than to individual flowers. One, it’s easier to see the clumps from a distance as the pollinator is flying around. Two, it is more efficient for the pollinator to work […]


Making and Testing a New Waterer

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~ One of the many things I have been thinking about lately is figuring out a different way to water the ducks. I have been giving them open tubs of water, which they quickly turn into bath water, as well as, drinking water. Not only […]


American Beech

~ Plant Highlight ~ The American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is a tall, deciduous tree that is native to the eastern U.S. It is the only beech tree native to North America. Other beech species are native to Europe and are sometimes planted as ornamentals. However, when most people in the […]


Avoid Planting Invasive Species

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~ Invasive species are species that are not native to an area, but once introduced to an area can spread rapidly and crowd out other species. Not all non-native species are invasive, but some are and those species can cause significant ecological damage. […]


Making Plans: Ducks

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Cold winter days seem like the perfect time for planning things to do around the farm and in our yards once it warms up. We all seem to do it. Some of us pour over seed catalogs while planning our dream gardens. Others […]


Henbit and Deadnettle

~ Plant Highlight ~   In March, backyards and fields can turn purple when viewed from a distance. The source of this purple hue are species in the genus Lamium. Our most common Lamium species are purple deadnettle (L. purpureum), henbit deadnettle (L. amplexicaule), and henbit (L. maculatum). Henbits and […]


Gray Squirrels

~ Kentucky Pollinators and Backyard Wildlife ~   Of the three species of squirrels that can be found in Kentucky, the gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is the most common. Gray squirrels are native to most of the eastern U.S. They have also been introduced to parts of the western U.S. […]


Provide Pollinators with 3 Seasons of Blooms

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~ When planting for pollinators, try to incorporate at least three different types of plants that bloom in each of the three growing seasons (spring, summer, and fall). In Kentucky and much of the surrounding region, the growing season typically begins sometime in […]


Snow Days on the Farm

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~ The story of the week can be summed up in one word – snow. We woke up on Jan. 13, approximately 3 inches of snow. A good deal of that melted / compacted before the storm that was originally predicted to bring “little additional […]


Tufted Titmouse

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   The tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is the only species of titmouse found in the eastern U.S. These curious, vocal songbirds are in the same family as the chickadees. In fact, once upon a time, they were in the same genus as chickadees, […]


Chickweed

~ Plant Highlight ~ Several species of chickweeds (Stellaria spp.) can be found in Kentucky and the surrounding states. The most common species are common chickweed (S. media) and star chickweed (S. pubera). Common chickweed is an exotic introduced from Europe. It is commonly found in yards and other disturbed […]


Do a Soil Test

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~   A soil test is an inexpensive and valuable investment when planting for pollinators and wildlife. Basic soil tests will tell you the pH of your soil and the availability of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. This is important information to […]


Round 1 – Honey Bees: 3, Jack Frost: 1

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Being a farmer is tough. No matter what the weather is like or how crappy you feel, you have to take care of your animals. Recently we went for almost three weeks where the temperatures never got above freezing. We’ve enjoyed a brief […]


Coralberry

~ Plant Highlight ~ Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) is a deciduous shrub that is native to most of the eastern half of the U.S. It typically grows 2-4 feet tall and is most commonly found in semi-open woods. Coralberry blooms during the summer, but the flowers are not very showy and […]


Kentucky Pollinator Blog – Growing and Changing in 2018

Over the last month or so, I’ve been thinking about the future of this blog. I know I didn’t write much last year because I was putting all my energy into my book. However, I would like to get this blog started again this year. I enjoy writing it and […]


Different Types of Food for Different Types of Birds

~ Tips for Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife ~ Many people enjoy feeding the birds, especially during the winter. It is a great way to attract birds to your home and to an area where you can easily watch them. The types of birds that come to your feeders will depend […]


The proofs arrived!

Last week I announced that my first book was at the printer. The proofs came yesterday. I am really excited about how they look! Only a couple more steps to go and then they will be ready to print. I think we are still on track for delivery in late […]


Skippers: Common, but often Overlooked Butterflies of Kentucky

Over the last week, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of brightly yellow tiger-swallowtail butterflies. Tiger-swallowtails are one of my favorite Kentucky butterflies and I love taking pictures of them on the milkweed and other wildflowers on our farm. However, there is another group of butterflies that I have […]


Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife

This past week has been super busy. I’ve been trying to catch up on beekeeping, nursery, and farm chores after traveling for several weeks. Anthony did a great job of keeping everything going while I was gone, but there was still plenty for me to jump in and do. Plus, […]


To Bee Keep or Not to Bee Keep? – A Repost

April is the month when many new beekeepers begin their journey. As the days warm and people start planting their gardens, other non-beekeepers sometimes begin contemplating “getting a few bees for the garden.” While I love beekeeping and I encourage anyone interested to become a beekeeper, I also know that […]


Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Its Tricky Pollination Method

Jack-in-the-pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum) are native to much of the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. and grow in moist, rich woodlands. In Kentucky, they typically bloom in April and May. Their flowers aren’t very showy compared to some of our other spring wildflowers, but they have a unique shape. They also […]


It’s Swarm Season Again

Springtime is a busy time for honey bees and beekeepers alike. As more and more flowers and trees begin to bloom, the amount of nectar and pollen available for the bees increases. The queen is also busy laying eggs and the population of bees in the hive is rapidly expanding […]


Hummingbirds that Look Almost Dead but Aren’t

You don’t have to live in Kentucky long to figure out that Kentucky weather can be a bit crazy. Seventy degree weather one day and snow the next? Yep, we can do that. Noooo problem. I know many of our neighbors in Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio claim the same […]


Help Track Hummingbird Migrations

It’s almost time for the hummingbirds to start arriving in Kentucky! In Kentucky, like the rest of the eastern U.S., we only have one common species of hummingbird – the ruby-throated hummingbird. Each year these tiny birds migrate from wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America to breeding grounds in […]


When “Helping the Bees” Hurts

Many of you are probably wondering what I mean by “when helping the bees hurts.” Am I talking about getting stung? While I agree getting stung wouldn’t feel good, that’s not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is much more complex and the “hurt” can have […]


Redbuds – A Beautiful and Early Source of Nectar and Pollen

Eastern redbuds (Cercis canadensis) are small trees or tall shrubs that are native to much of the eastern U.S. In the early spring, redbuds produce clusters of pink flowers. Redbuds bloom before the leaves have started to appear on most trees and their pretty pink flowers can often be spotted […]


Sulphur Butterflies

Sulphur butterflies are the bright yellow butterflies with relatively few markings that we see in our gardens and other open areas during the summer and fall. Of the medium to small sized butterflies, sulphurs are some of my favorites. There are several species of sulphur butterflies that can be found […]


Maples – repost

The warmer than normal winter this year combined with the really warm weather the last couple of weeks means lots and lots of plants are blooming. The maple bloom is especially strong this year. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the red maple trees were when I arrived home last week […]


The Importance of Native Bees

Honey bees have been the focus of much attention over the last several years. Thanks to this increased attention most people now know that honey bee populations are declining and facing many serious challenges. However, the story that is often not told is that of the native bees. The honey […]


The Life of a Beekeeper

I’ve been a beekeeper for almost four years now. As people find out that I keep bees, they often have questions about honey bees or how to get into beekeeping. I enjoy these conversations and sharing what I know about honey bees and beekeeping. That’s one trait I’ve found that […]


Pollen in January?

The weather this winter has been crazy. I was pulling weeds and running around in shorts sleeves on Christmas. We had a week or two of cold weather, but now it is January 21 and I’m watching the bees bring pollen into the hive. And not just a little pollen, […]


Dandelions – Not an Evil Weed to be Destroyed on Sight

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are perhaps one of the first wildflowers that many of us learned to identify. Their cheery yellow flowers bring dots of color to yards and other open areas. The puffball seed heads bring joy and laughter to kids everywhere. However, many homeowners view them as an evil […]


The Great Purple Hairstreak

Looking out my front window, I can see an old walnut tree with a couple of clumps of mistletoe in it. Mistletoes play an important role in the environment and I talked about them in my blog on Dec. 1, 2015. As I look at the mistletoe clumps in the […]


A Brief History of Beekeeping

Humans have a very long history of interacting with honey bees. However, before we go into that long history it is important to understand that not all bees are honey bees. While there are thousands of species of bees living throughout the world, only a handful of species produce honey. […]


Not All Pollinators are Insects or Hummingbirds

In Kentucky and the eastern U.S., the animals that pollinate our plants are hummingbirds and a variety of insects (bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, beetles, etc.). However, in the southwestern U.S., Mexico, and further south, there is another major group of pollinators – bats! In honor of International Bat Week (Oct. […]


Fall is a Great Time to Plant Trees, Shrubs, and Perennials

At our farm in southcentral Kentucky, the air has turned crisper, the leaves are beginning to fall, and the native wildflowers that we didn’t sell in our nursery are beginning to go dormant. Not too long ago, I would have taken these as signs that it was time to hang […]


Varroa Mite Monitoring in Honey Bees

In the late 1980s, the varroa mite (Varroa destructor) was introduced to the U.S. and forever changed beekeeping in this country. The varroa mite is native to Asia where its native host is one of the Asian honey bees. It is estimated that varroa mites began infecting European honey bees […]


Devil’s Walking Stick

Devil’s walking stick (Aralia spinosa) is a small tree or tall shrub that is native to the eastern U.S. It is often found growing along the edges of forests or in open woodlands. Devil’s walking stick can be a very important plant for honey bees, native bees, and butterflies. From […]


Saddleback caterpillars

I almost had a really bad experience on Sunday. The baby ducks aren’t babies any more. They have learned to fly and while we’ve caught the drakes and trimmed their flight feathers, we haven’t been able to catch the hens yet. They are too fast and can fly too well. […]


Hoverfly – The Bee that Isn’t

When is a bee not a bee? When it is a hoverfly! Hoverflies are flies that look like bees or wasps. Their disguise is very good and casual observers often mistake them for small bees or wasps. Hoverflies, also known as Syrphid flies or flower flies, are found on every […]


Buttonbush – A beautiful wetland shrub that pollinators love

I was first introduced to buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) when I was in college. It quickly became one of my favorite wetland shrubs because I thought the flowers were interesting and it is an important plant for wildlife. As my interest in pollinators has grown, I’ve gained a new reason to […]


7 Tips for Planting for Butterflies

Butterfly gardens are growing in popularity. When done properly, they can be a great way to attract these beautiful pollinators to your yard. Here are seven tips for creating a butterfly garden.   1) Think about what species of butterflies you want to attract. Different species of butterflies require different […]


Planting Native Wildflowers for Pollinators and Other Wildlife

This is National Wildflower Week! National Wildflower Week is always the first week of May. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, National Wildflower Week is designed to raise awareness about wildflowers and their importance. This is also an exciting time of year for Kentucky gardeners because many plants […]


Swarms – What are they and what should you do if you find one

Swarm season started about a week ago. As a beekeeper, this is always an exciting time. First, I’m trying to manage my hives so they don’t swarm. So far, I’m succeeding in that respect this spring. Second, I’m hoping to catch several swarms to increase my number of hives. We caught […]


Tracking the Blooms

“Everything seems to be blooming early this year,” has been a common observation over the last month. I’ve made it and so have many of my friends and colleagues. But memories, especially casual observations from a year or more ago, can be tricky. That’s why many people who are interested […]


Fields of Purple Equal an Early Source of Nectar and Pollen

In March, backyards and fields can turn purple when viewed from a distance. The source of this purple hue are species in the genus Lamium. Our most common Lamium species are purple deadnettle (L. purpureum), henbit deadnettle (L. amplexicaule), and henbit (L. maculatum). Henbits and deadnettles look similar. Both have […]


Kentucky’s Pollinator Conservation Plan

If you are reading this blog, then it is probably because you are interested in pollinators. You are probably also aware that honey bees and other insect pollinators are declining. Facebook and other social media outlets are full of memes designed to raise awareness about declining honey bee populations and […]


Mining Bees – Important Early Pollinators

Mining bees or miner bees are some of our earliest native bees to become active in the spring. All of the bees in the genus Andrena are commonly referred to as mining bees. It is estimated that there are over 400 species of Andrena bees in North America. They are […]


Maples – Some of our Earliest Blooming Trees

February is a busy month in Kentucky. Regardless of what the groundhog says, it is the transition between winter and spring. It is when we are most likely to have our major snow and ice storms – often right before or after a string of spring-like 70 degree days. It is also […]


Learning to be a Beekeeper

Beekeeping is not easy, nor is it cheap. It takes patience. It takes persistence. It takes a love for what you are doing and for the bees under your care. For those thinking about becoming beekeepers, I strongly recommend attending bee club meetings and bee schools. Meet local beekeepers. Ask […]


From Nectar to Yummy: How Bees Make Honey

Ask someone where honey comes from and the answer will likely be honey bees. Although that’s not a wrong answer, it isn’t completely correct either. Honey bees aren’t the only bees to produce honey. Some of our native bees, like bumble bees, also produce honey but in much smaller quantities […]


Hummingbird and Bumblebee Moths

We learn at a fairly young age that butterflies are active during the day and moths are usually active at night. “Usually,” however, means that there are exceptions. Some moths are active during the day instead of at night like most of their counterparts. Two of my favorite diurnal moths […]


American Mistletoe – A holiday plant enjoyed by late foraging pollinators.

It’s Dec. 1 and many people’s thoughts are turning to holiday traditions. Christmas trees and other decorations are going up in homes, businesses, and cities across the state. Sprigs of mistletoe are scattered among those decorations, often above doorways in the hope of inspiring a holiday kiss. American mistletoe (Phoradendron […]


How do honey bees survive the winter?

As the days become cooler and shorter, I see my honey bees out less and less. They’ll come out and fly around on warm days, but they don’t go far or stay out long. There isn’t much for them to do since most of the flowers have stopped blooming. The […]


American Witch Hazel: The Last Flowers of the Year

It’s the time of year when almost everything has stopped blooming. If I look hard enough, I might be able to find a few clover, dandelion, or smartweed blossoms left. The crazy cold, then warm weather has also tricked our lilac into putting out a few blooms. However, for the […]


Bird Poop, Snake Head, and Leaf “Costumes” of the Spicebush Swallowtail

The ghouls and goblins of Halloween got me thinking about mimicry in the natural world. Mimicry is when an animal has evolved to look like something else. The spicebush swallowtail caterpillar provides some of my favorite examples of mimicry among Kentucky’s butterflies. The spicebush swallowtail (Papilio troilus) can be found […]


What are honey bees getting from plants?

As I was working in the beehives this weekend, I began thinking about the different things that honey bees gather from plants and how they use those items. Honey bees primarily forage for three things from plants – nectar, pollen, and propolis. They also sometimes forage for honeydew, but that […]


Kentucky’s Winter Hummingbirds

It’s hard to believe that it is already the middle of October. This year has zoomed by – there are so many things that I wanted to get done this year that I haven’t even started. This weekend’s cold snap served as a reminder that winter really is just around […]


Fall asters provide late season boost to pollinators

What I refer to as the fall asters are actually multiple species within the genus Symphyotrichum. Most of these asters have either white or purple flowers with yellow centers. A few of the common fall asters in Kentucky are New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae),  frostweed aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum),  calico aster […]


Woolly worms – One of our most recognized caterpillars

It’s almost that time of year again – the time when woolly worms are seen crossing sidewalks and roads in mass. Woolly worms (aka woolly bear caterpillars) are the caterpillars for Isabella tiger moths (Pyrrharctia isabella). Isabella tiger moths aren’t pollinators because the adults don’t eat and the caterpillars eat […]


How do butterflies and moths survive the winter?

According to the Journey North website, monarch migration peaked last week around the Great Lakes. That means it won’t be long before the migration peaks in Kentucky. The monarch butterfly’s migration to and from Mexico each year is a familiar story. But what happens to all of our other butterflies […]


Providing water for honey bees and other pollinators

After an unusually rainy summer, the last month and a half has been very dry. We keep track of the daily precipitation at our farm. On August 6-7, we received a total of 1.95 inches of rain. In the five and a half weeks since then, only 1.14 inches of […]


Thoroughworts and bonesets – The white flowers of fall

A couple of weeks ago I talked about goldenrods. They are some of the first fall flowers and quickly attract our attention with their brilliant yellow blossoms. Over the last week, another group of fall flowers has started blooming alongside the goldenrods. These flat-topped clusters of white flowers are known as […]


Saving honey bees – one soda at a time

Several times this summer, someone has asked me about bees around a garbage can. Each time the bees were honey bees and the garbage can was a public trash can located outside. The bees are being attracted to the half-drunk sodas that people toss into the trash without thinking about […]


The goldenrods are blooming!

Growing up, I wasn’t a fan of goldenrods. They were that yellow weed that made people sneeze and meant it was time to go back to school. Now I have a much greater appreciation for goldenrods (and I know they don’t make you sneeze). In fact, they have become one […]


Monarch butterflies: Their migration and how you can get involved

The monarch butterfly is one of the most widely recognized and celebrated butterflies in the U.S. For many of us, the love affair started in grade school when we learned about the monarch’s migration and their giant winter clusters in Mexico. The U.S. has two populations of monarch butterflies – […]


Keeping the hive cool in Kentucky’s hot, humid summers

The last couple of weeks have been extremely hot. High temperatures have frequently been in the 90s and we’ve had a few days with heat indexes over 100 °F. Most of us coped with the heat by retreating inside to our air conditioned homes and offices. But how do honeybees cope […]


Black-eyed Susan: A favorite nectar source for butterflies

The black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is a native wildflower that belongs to a group of flowers called the coneflowers. The coneflowers include popular wildflowers like the black-eyed susans, brown-eyed susans, purple coneflower, grey-headed coneflower, and many others. Coneflowers are semi-drought tolerant and bloom during the summer. In Kentucky, Black-eyed susans bloom […]


To Bee Keep or Not to Bee Keep? That is the question.

Ok, I couldn’t resist the corny Hamlet reference, but it seemed appropriate. More people have asked me about bees and beekeeping this year than ever before. I don’t mind. I like talking about bees and beekeeping. How hard is it to keep bees? Can I just put a hive out […]


Common milkweed in bloom.

Milkweed

Our common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is in full bloom and the pollinators are loving it. In the early morning, it is covered in beetles, ants, and small native bees. As the sun comes up a little higher, the larger native bees and honeybees arrive at the patch. Finally, as the […]


Introduction

Pollinators represent a diverse group of organisms. Bees (specifically honeybees), butterflies, and hummingbirds are the first animals most people think of when someone mentions pollinators. But there are many other types of pollinators. Beetles, moths, bats, ants, and flies are just a few examples of other less commonly thought of […]

Butterfly on milkweed.