Hunting for Rusty
Learn about an Endangered Pollinator!
On the Hunt for Rusty

The Minnesota State bird is the common loon, the state flower is the showy lady slipper, the state butterfly is the monarch, and of course the walleye is our state fish. Good news fellow Minnesotans, we now have a state bee! The rusty-patched bumblebee ( Bombus affinis ) officially became the state bee this spring, and with that designation came more attention and effort to protect this species. A couple of years prior, in 2017, the rusty-patched was the first bee species in the US to be placed on the federal endangered species list.

Although they are fairly uncommon in the metro area, Natural Shore staff has discovered several rusty patched bumblebees in the restorations we manage. This is always a thrill for our staff, and it really emphasizes the importance of native plant patches, even ones that are modest in size and located in residential settings. While our snow blanket is pretty thick out there, we thought it would be fun to warm up, think green, and share a bit more about this fascinating creature. 

Pollinator/Insect of the Month
Brown Belted Bumblebee
( Bombus griseocollis )

This bumblebee is often misidentified as a rusty-patched bumblebee. So it is good to know how to identify both. The brown belted bee has a larger section of brown hairs on its second abdominal segment that also has black hairs below the brown "belt". In the Rusty patch bumblebee, the segment on the abdomen has a lighter red color surrounded by yellow hairs. There is a difference of markings on their thorax as well. A brown-belted bee has a circle of black hairs, while a rusty patched bumblebee has a "thumb tack" marking of black hairs. Compare the images to the right to see the differences in markings .
Retail Nursery News

Our Greenhouse is all bundled up for winter! Thank you for a wonderful year and we look forward to providing the community with native plants next spring!

For more information:
Non-native Species of the Month- Periwinkle- ( Vinca minor)

Periwinkle is a European native found in the nursery trade and marketed as a hardy ground cover. Unfortunately it can escape cultivation and find its way into woodland areas where it spreads quickly and pushes out native species. This will eventually degrade habitat and reduce the value of these areas for wildlife. It can thrive in any sun exposure from shady to full sun, and in dry or wet soils. It blooms from May to June and has light purple flowers with five petals and a white center. Their leaves are dark green with light green veins and are opposite along the stem. They also stay green all year. Their stems creep along the ground and can grow up to six feet. Management strategies include continually digging up the plants or timely herbicide treatments.

Native Plant of the Month-
Hoary Vervain ( Verbena stricta )

Hoary vervain is a vigorous, clump-forming plant growing from a root system with a central taproot. It is a square-stemmed perennial covered with white hairs, giving the plant a grayish cast. Their growth form includes multiple upright flower stalks packed with small blue-purple tubular flowers. This native plant thrives in full sun and in dry to medium well-drained soils. Hoary vervain is found in sandy fields, dry prairies, mesic prairies, and roadsides. The small purple flowers are also visited by bees, butterflies, and wasps. After pollination, the plant still benefits wildlife when their seeds are eaten by birds. This plant is also deer resistant because the foliage is bitter tasting.

Five Plants For...the Rusty Patch!
These are five plants where Rusty Patched bumblebees are commonly observed. Plant these beautiful native flowers and then keep a look out for that rusty patch! (Want more ideas? There are a few more Rusty patch favorites in the above main article!)
Mystery Plant of the Month
This month's Mystery Plant is as brilliant red as a Poinsettia, but it is a Minnesota native. It's also a hummingbird favorite! Have a guess? Click on the Facebook link below to see the answer!

Thank you for reading our Newsletter this year! We hope you enjoyed it and will continue reading it next year!
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