Know your native pollinators
“Know your native pollinators” is a series of articles that will help you identify and appreciate Florida’s varied pollinators, including bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, birds and bats.
The Bombyliidae family is large and diverse. Members nectar at flowers in the composite family, such as Dune sunflower (Helianthus debilis), Elliott’s aster (Symphyotrichum elliottii), Stokes’ aster (Stokesia leavis) and Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta). Bee flies are true flies that imitate bees to scare predators away.
Also known by the common name Dwarf yellow, the Dainty sulphur butterfly is the smallest sulphur in North America. It nectars at asters, especially those low to the ground, including Smallfruit beggarticks (Bidens mitis), Beggarticks (Bidens alba), Burr marigold (Bidens laevis), Common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) and Southeastern sneezeweed (Helenium pinnatifidum).
The Little metalmark is one of the tiniest butterflies, having a wingspan of only 1.2 – 2.5 cm. The silver markings on its wings give members of the Riodinidae family the common name “metalmark.” Host plants of the Little metalmark caterpillar are in the Asteraceae family, and include Purple thistle (Cirsium horridulum), Vanillaleaf (Carphephorus odoratissimus) and Climbing hempvine (Mikania scandens).
Pandorus sphinx moths display a camouflaged pattern of green and brown blocks to blend in with the world around them. They are part of the sphinx family (Sphingidae), a group known for large moth species. The host plants of the Pandorus sphinx are grape (Vitis sp.) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).
Create a pollinator pot
The insects that pollinate our food crops and natural areas are in steep decline. Our suburban landscapes are more important than ever in supporting them. Even small changes in your landscape and neighborhood can help build native, natural corridors that provide food, nesting and other resources for insect pollinators.
No place for a garden? No problem! You can create a small oasis for pollinator insects planting pots with Florida’s native wildflowers.
More buzz about pollinators
Making a home for native bees
It is more important than ever to make a home for native bees in Florida’s landscapes. Bee expert Dr. Rachel Mallinger of the University of Florida gives tips on the best ways to welcome them to urban landscapes.
Celebrate native bees and other pollinators
Do you enjoy juicy watermelons, local blueberries and strawberries and fresh Florida orange juice? How about carrots, broccoli, almonds and apples? If you do, please thank an insect. Learn more about our pollinators — especially native bees — and why they are so important.
Insects need us, and we need them
Insect populations are falling at alarming rates all around the world because of pesticide use, our climate crisis and habitat loss. It’s time to ask yourself: What have I done for insects lately? If the answer is “nothing,” you can take action now with this simple plan.
Monarchs and milkweed: What you need to know
The Monarch butterfly’s demise has captured America’s attention. You can help by using native milkweed species in your landscape. Find out what you need to know to help save Monarchs.
Review of Xerces Society’s Milkweed Guide
The monarch’s population decline has caused great concern in the last few years. The Xerces Society’s insight into factors that influence monarch butterfly populations has pointed to many things we cannot control. However, the increased production and planting of the monarch food plants, milkweeds, is certainly an environmental movement that can be achieved on a large scale in the United States.
Webinar: Creating Pollinator Pathways
Learn about creating pollinator pathways in the built environment during a free webinar on July 7 featuring Dr. Jaret Daniels, who will explain how every landscape, large and small, is now critical to supporting the biodiversity that keeps our ecosystems functioning.
Resources for attracting pollinators
You can help provide food and habitat for Florida’s native bees and other beneficial insects by landscaping with native wildflowers. Versión en español disponible.
Bring birds into your landscape by planting Florida native wildflowers, grasses and shrubs that provide food and habitat. Learn more now. Versión en español disponible.
You can help provide food and habitat for Florida’s butterflies by landscaping with native wildflowers. Learn more now. Versión en español disponible.
Monarchs and Milkweed
Learn about Monarch butterflies and the Florida native milkweed they require as host plants for their caterpillars. The publication features cautions about the use of non-native Tropical milkweed. Versión en español disponible.
Plant selection guide
This guide includes over 120 Florida native wildflowers, shrubs, vines and grasses that work well in home landscapes. It will help you choose plants based on your location, soil and light conditions, color and season of bloom, and pollinator use. Versión en español disponible.