A Citizen Science Project Exploring Bee Biodiversity in Northern Colorado
Native Bee Watch Newsletter #22
Welcome to the Native Bee Watch Newsletter! This newsletter provides the current buzz on bee monitoring, tips for best practice observing, and other fun, educational resources. Enjoy! 
Bee Monitoring is Complete for 2017!

Last week was the final week for bee monitoring. Thank you all for your help collecting data! We hope you had an educational and fun summer! See you next summer!
Painted Lady Butterfly Migration in Colorado

Have you noticed all the painted lady butterflies recently? Painted ladies always migrate south this time of year. However, this year there are more than usual! Learn more about this year's migration here.

Painted lady butterflies are a fascinating species. They are one of the most widespread butterfly species in the world. They live on all continents except Antarctica and Australia. In Europe, painted ladies will migrate 9,000 miles over the course of about 6 generations. To learn more about painted lady butterflies, click here.

A painted lady butterfly on penstemon flowers at Nix Farm. Photo: Lisa Mason
Newsletter Correction: Monarch vs. Viceroy Butterflies

In the last newsletter, under the Interesting Summer Sightings, there was a picture of a butterfly labeled as a monarch. That was incorrect! The butterfly (pictured below), is actually a viceroy butte rfly ( Limenitis archippus) .

Why do these two butterflies look so much alike?

Monarch butterflies feed and host on milkweed plants (Asclepiadaceae family). Milkweed plants have a substance called cardenolides that make them toxic and taste badly to animals that prey on monarch caterpillars and butterflies. Predators associate the bright colors of monarch with the toxicity and poor taste. For a long time, it was thought that the viceroy butterfly mimicked the monarch butterfly to take advantage of this defense strategy. More recent research shows that the viceroy butterfly also tastes bad and can be toxic to predators. They mimic each other to warn predators to stay away.

While both species are in the caterpillar stage, they avoid predators too. Monarch caterpillars warn predators through their bright colors. Viceroy caterpillars look like bird feces and camouflage with their hosts (cottonwoods and willows).

How to identify a monarch versus a viceroy

Viceroy butterflies are a little smaller than monarchs. Also, there is a black circular line crossing the veins of the hindwing that is not present on a monarch butterfly. Curious to learn more? Test your knowledge here .
Viceroy butterfly ( Limenitis archippus). Photo: Lisa Mason
Viceroy caterpillar. Photo: Michelle Thibodeau, BugGuide.net
Monarch butterfly ( Danaus plexippus ) . Photo: Kim Phillips, BugGuide.net
Monarch caterpillar. Photo: Lisa Mason
Bee of the Week -  Green Metallic Sweat Bees

Family - Halictidae

Scientific Name- Agapostemon spp.

These medium sized bees are known for their noticeable bright green or blue coloration. They are found in the Western Hemisphere only but can be found at a variety of elevations, some at sea level and others above 10,000 ft. There are nine species in Colorado. They nest in the ground on hillsides, vertical banks, or on even-ground. The entrance to their nests are surrounded by a mound of dirt with a tunnel leading down to the nest. Although most nest individually, there are some species that nest communally. Females of those species still build their own individual nests for their own larvae and do not interact with others in the communal nest site. These bees don’t have a floral preference but are commonly seen on plants in the sunflower family. 

Source: The Bees in Your Backyard and The Bees of Colorado.
Photos: Lisa Mason
Plant of the Week - Cape-forget-me-not, Summer-forget-me-not

Scientific name: Anchusa capensis

A South African native, the Cape-forget-me-not, Summer-forget-me-not is a beautiful evergreen which produces vibrant blue flowers. This perennial grows to be about 12-16 inches tall, and produces flowers from May to October. Honey bees are frequently seen on the unmistakable dark blue flower with a white center. Plant Select recommends planting summer forget-me-nots in the center of flower garden as they like a bit of shade.
For more information, click here .
Source and photo:  Plant Select®
What's the Buzz? Pollinators in the News

With Smart Planning, Coffee and Bees Can Survive Climate Change. In a new study, a Smithsonian scientist says coffee-growers have options.

The Secret Ingredient That Stops Honeybees From Becoming Queens. Researchers know that the honey bee larvae that feed on royal jelly, a substance secreted by nurse bees, will become a queen. New research shows that it is a combination of royal jelly and microRNA found in plants.
Photo: Micaela Truslove
A painted lady butterfly ( Vanessa cardui) at the Gardens on Spring Creek. Photo: Lisa Mason
Native Bee Watch: A Citizen Science Project Exploring Bee Biodiversity in Northern Colorado

Website: nativebeewatch.wordpress.com  Contact: Lisa Mason at Lisa.Mason@ColoState.edu