If you haven’t heard of a bio-blitz, you won’t understand the title of this post. A bio-blitz is a recording of all living species (biodiversity) in an area over the course of 24 hours. I did not perform my bee-blitz over 24 hours straight, but I did record what I witnessed at three time points over the course of 24 hours. My focus was on the front yard, and on bees. This is nowhere near the scale of an actual bio-blitz, but the results are worth sharing nevertheless.
I recently completed my goal of replacing my front lawn with useful vegetation. Last year I replaces 1/2 the lawn with native flowering plants, and this year I did the other 1/2. I used Resource Central’s Gardens in a Box to do so, as they are complete with a plant by number map. I thought it would be interesting to see how many species of bees are appreciating this change, as the flowers are plentiful.
I had this bee in my bonnet beginning on August 23rd, and began counting from 7-7:45pm.
It had been a sunny and hot day, and the evening was buzzing with activity in my front yard. I was curious who was responsible for all the buzzing, and began taking note of the bees bouncing from flower to flower. I cannot claim with confidence that I was able to spot every possible bee in my yard at that time, I am only one person, but I am proud to say I found 8 species I could identify. This number seemed low to me, but let’s acknowledge the time was evening, and many bees are home nestled in for the night. I decided to repeat this the next day, but at different time points. I thought I would see a lot more diversity during the day.
It was another sunny day, and was much busier than the previous evening, as I had predicted. At this time I identified 15 different species of bees in my front yard; that’s nearly double the evening activity!
I thought I would look again later in the day, when things really heat up to see if visitors would increase or decrease in diversity. I found 16 species this time, not significant from the morning count, but still significant from the previous evening.
You are probably wondering who I saw, so here’s a photographical collage of my buzzing guests over the 24 hours I recorded…well, only three time points during those 24 hours. The photos below were taken on different days, but the visitors remain the same. A few of the bees I spotted were not familiar to me, so I didn’t put a name to the face, yet, but I did count them. Some species that were found at all three time points are: bumble bees (more than one species), digger bees, honey bees, sweat bees, and wool carder bees. The diversity was astounding, and so exciting, as this is my goal, to provide a bee haven.
So, where do I go from here? Next year is another opportunity to record visitors in a more thorough manner, beginning in March. It is my intention to take 24 hours out of each month of the buzzing seasons, and see who I am supporting. I’d love to find their nests too, as this has been an ongoing mystery, but not one I’ve spent much time with.
Do you know who’s buzzing in your yard? I’d love to hear what you’ve seen in your yard, and see photos too! It’s never too late to create a buzz and move that grass over for useful landscapes. This action supports birds and small mammals too.
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