Saturday, April 24, 2010
Mason Bees and Flower Flies
Having these bees around is a great way to ensure pollination of fruit trees and blueberry bushes (heath family in general). But pollination is but one issue to getting a good crop. Aphids are already waking up and breeding on some of the trees here. Usually they aren't a problem but every little bit helps make a good harvest.
Roundleaf Ragwort, Packera obovata. I never understood where the name ragwort came from. Golden Flower would be just as good for this plant. It's a round leaved ground cover that moves like a carpet through the forest and in early spring they produce thousands of yellow and gold flowers above them.
Syrphini tribe, these beneficial insects are colorful flies that lay eggs in patches of aphids. The resulting grubs (maggots) take care of your aphid problem and aren't bothered by ants that may be guarding them.
When the ragwort stops blooming they turn to Yarrow but we're not there yet in the year. Small flowers seems to be the key to attracting Syrphini to your yard. There are a few exceptions of course but they're pollinators all the same.