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A parade of Wisconsin pollinators

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    Rusty patched bumble bee

    Pollinators are animals including bees, butterflies, flies, moths and birds, that help plants reproduce by transferring pollen. Many native plants, as well as many food crops in Wisconsin, rely on pollinators. Once widespread throughout the eastern half of the U.S., the rusty patched bumble bee is now federally endangered and found in only a few locations, many of which are here in Wisconsin. Photograph and report rusty patched bumble bee sites to the Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade [exit DNR].Photo credit: Jay Watson
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    Syrphid fly

    This insect might look like a bumble bee, but it’s actually a syrphid fly! Unlike bumble bees, flies have large eyes, small antennae, and only a single pair of wings. Look closely, and you’ll find syrphid flies visiting and pollinating a wide variety of flowers. Learn more about Wisconsin pollinatorsin the following slides and on our Pollinator web page. Photo credit: Eva Lewandowski
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    Tumbling flower beetle

    Tumbling flower beetles are frequent visitors to flowers throughout the state. You might notice their characteristic tumbling off flowers and away from predators, which gives them their name. Learn how you can help native pollinators. Photo credit: Jeffrey G. Cramer CC-By-NC
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    Poweshiek skipperling

    The Poweshiek skipperling is a small butterfly historically found in Midwestern tallgrass prairies. Sadly, it is now federally endangered throughout its range and has been reported from only one site in the state since 2012. Learn more about the Poweshiek skipperling. Photo credit: Jay Watson
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    Ruby-throated hummingbird

    The ruby-throated hummingbird is Wisconsin’s only pollinating bird. Its beautiful colors and vibrant energy make it beloved by garden and bird enthusiasts throughout the state. Hummingbirds are attracted to red or orange, tube-shaped flowers.
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    Solitary sweat bee

    Solitary sweat bees can be seen on wildflowers throughout the state. Unlike bumble bees, solitary sweat bees don’t live together in large colonies. Instead, individual bees live alone, and females build and provision their nests on their own. Augochlora pura, pictured here, nests beneath the bark of fallen logs and old trees. Photo credit: Andy Birkey CC-By-NC
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    Karner blue butterfly

    The Karner blue butterfly is a federally endangered species found in limited places in the Midwest, including western and central Wisconsin. Wisconsin efforts to help restore lupine, the only plant the Karner caterpillar eats, have helped increase populations of this nickel-sized butterfly, and Wisconsin now has the world’s largest population. Learn how you can help Karner blues.Photo credit: Chelsea Weinzinger
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    Andrena erigeniae

    This bee, Andrena erigeniae, is a solitary bee that specializes in pollinating the native wildflower Virginia springbeauty. Females collect pollen from the plant to feed to their larvae.Photo credit: Pat Fojut CC By-NC-SA
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    Bombus auricomus

    Bombus auricomus is commonly known as the black and gold bumblebee. It is native to eastern North America, including Wisconsin. This species creates above-ground nests in grassland and other open habitat types. It feeds at many types of plants, including thistles, bee balm and echinacea.Photo credit: Jay Watson
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    Monarch butterfly

    Monarchs aren’t the most efficient pollinators but they are iconic ambassadors and the habitat that benefits them benefits all pollinators. Monarchs arriving in Wisconsin in May are the offspring of a "super generation" that migrates to central Mexico and winters on mountaintops where the cool climate slows their metabolism. They leave in March for warmer climates like Texas, where they mate and lay eggs on milkweed plants. Those eggs hatch into caterpillars, which gorge on milkweed before forming a chrysalis and transforming into adult butterflies. These are the butterflies which fly on to Wisconsin and other eastern states to breed. Photo credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Last Revised: Tuesday April 16 2018