Mid-Spring

by Pat Jaquith
pat@westvalleynaturalists.org

Dandelion with Sweat Bee, Ant, and another bee 5.07.17

Busy as a bee! The pace of changes becomes fairly frantic in May. Lawns are “greening up”, perennial plants are showing color giving insects something to come out for; birds are arriving now that there are insects they can feed to growing hatchlings; the soil has warmed up and dried out enough to be worked so farmers are out there early and late… read on for more pictures and notes about this cascade of events!

Continue Reading →

A Very Special Bumblebee

by Tris Hoffman, Flathead National Forest Weed Coordinator
silversagebrush@hotmail.com

The Western Bumblebee is a species that was once common and widespread throughout the western U.S. and Canada.  For a variety of reasons, both known and unknown, populations of this bee are in serious decline.  It has mostly vanished west of the Cascades.  Thankfully, West Valley is a place (perhaps a refuge?) where the bees may still be found.  

Continue Reading →

The Three Musketeers of Wasps

by Tris Hoffman, Flathead National Forest Weed Coordinator
silversagebrush@hotmail.com

Walt Disney got it wrong:  The bald-faced hornet

When Disney adapted A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh into a cute animation, he made mistake.  If the “Bear of Very Little Brain” wanted honey, he should have looked for a large hollow tree. The illustrations in Milne’s original stories show Pooh climbing a large tree, but he is not going after the papery egg-shaped nest that the animated bear seems to obsess about.  Disney’s globular gray nest would never provide Pooh with honey, because that is a typical nest of a bald-faced hornet.

Continue Reading →