A Pollinator’s Oasis
By: Karen Menard
Habitats are vital for pollinators.
Each summer, bees and butterflies seek critical refuge in high quality Metropark habitats. Sustaining woodland sites that support native wildflowers will continue to provide essential food for hungry queen bumblebees that emerge in the early spring. Restoring and maintaining summer meadow and prairie habitats through native, eco-type seeding and propagation also provides critical nectar and pollen sources for our local pollinators that forage later in the season.
Planting a diverse array of species in many habitats not only attracts up to eight types of bumble bees, but other bee species that include: mining, mason, cellophane, cuckoo, sweat, leafcutter, wool carder, long-horned, digger, carpenter, and squash bees. Butterflies can exceed 75 species for northwest Ohio.
Pollinators like bumble bees, butterflies, and specialist bee species were monitored this season by researchers at several Metropark locations. A significant find included a very uncommon bee called, Bombus pensylvanicus, or the American bumble bee. Sadly, this bee is facing steep declines in population numbers across its range; however, Metroparks is working every day to provide quality habitats and will continue to sustain pollen and nectar sources for all pollinators-- especially for the American bumble bee.
Did you know? In 2022
- Over 800 pounds of seed (from 285 species) was produced from Metroparks own seed nursery at Blue Creek
- Over 200 acres of prairies were planted
- Over 3,000 acres of natural areas were managed and restored
- Over 113 acres of new forests were planted
- Approximately 140 hours were spent monitoring butterfly populations
For more information on helping pollinators, go to:
Check out this summer prairie habitat video from an Oak Openings corridor location. See if you can count the number of bees and butterflies cross-pollinating the Liatris spicata (dense blazing star).
Video: Karen Menard; American bumble bee: Stock photo