Our Backyard Garden was the hot spot for pollinators on this sunny July afternoon.

by Sandy Garland

The only way to learn to identify pollinators is to keep looking for them. As a member of the Wild Pollinator Partners network, the FWG has been participating in a number of pollinator surveys this year. We want to find out which pollinators are visiting our plants and we want to learn more about these helpful creatures.

On 21 July 2019, a hot sunny day, I met with Emma Gaudreault, Véronique Landriault, and Fatiha Dia Hantchi to do a survey. All three are Ottawa U students, but Emma is working on a project at Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada this summer and has received a small grant from the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club to expand on her work. We could tell she was a “pro” when she arrived with a butterfly net and small vials to enable us all to get a closer look at some of the insects we would find.

Véronique agreed to be recorder and used the form that another Ottawa U student, Alysha Riquier prepared for the purpose (see pollinator survey protocol – and form in English and French).

The Andrenid bees that were everywhere during an earlier survey at the end of June were mostly gone, but we found many flower flies and bumble bees. Although we surveyed the Backyard Garden, the Butterfly Meadow, and the Gully, the BYG was definitely most popular with pollinators. And the favourite plant: Great St. John’s-wort (Hypericum ascyron), which is native in our region.

Here’s a sample of the pollinators we found. Thanks very much to Emma and Fatiha for taking these photos. They have been uploaded to the WPP project in iNaturalist and we’ll add further identifications if they are confirmed by that community.

Thanks also to Isabelle Nicol and the Friday volunteer group at the FWG for keeping this garden looking so beautiful and making it so attractive to these pollinators.

And here’s a summary of the data:

Date and time: 21 July 2019, 1:09-2:42 pm
Air temperature at start: 29 degrees C; at end of survey: 20 degrees C
Wind speed: 19 km/h
Cloud cover: 10-50%

Location No. Pollinator Plant species
Backyard Garden 1 Western Honey Bee, Apis mellifera Black-eyed Susan
1 Bumble bee Fireweed
1 Wasp (all black) Mountain Mint
3 Sweat bee (Halictus sp.) Black-eyed Susan
1 Sweat bee (Lasioglossum sp.) Yarrow
15 Sweat bee (Lasioglossum sp.) Queen Anne’s Lace
Various ants and small beetles Queen Anne’s Lace
1 Flower fly (Toxomerus sp.) Queen Anne’s Lace
1 Small carpenter Mallow
2 Large carpenter Wild Bergamot
1 Small carpenter Silverweed
2 Beetle Rue and Black-eyed Susan
5 Little black bee, pollen on stomach Harebell
2 Bumble bee Great St. John’s-wort
10 Hylaeus Great St. John’s-wort
1 Lasioglossum Wild Bergamot
3 Big carpenter bee Cup-plant
10 Hylaeus Potentilla
Butterfly Meadow 1 Bumble bee Vetch
1 Western Honey Bee, Apis mellifera Veronica
1 Western Honey Bee, Apis mellifera St. John’s-wort
1 Hylaeus Purple-flowering Raspberry
2 Honey bee, Apis mellifera Sweet clover
Gully 2 Monarch Swamp Milkweed
3 Western Honey Bee, Apis mellifera Swamp Milkweed
2 Western Honey Bee, Apis mellifera Catmint
3 Sweat bee Catmint
2 Megachile Catmint
2 Large sweat bee Catmint
1 Drone fly, Eristalis tenax Resting
1 Flower fly, Toxomerus Daisy Fleabane