Our Buzzing Neighbors of Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

Minneapolis, MN, United States
Est. 699m / 30 mins / Map

Our Buzzing Neighbors of Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden - Cya On The Road

Have you ever thought about hunting for bumblebees? Well, the volunteers for the University of Minnesota’s Bee Atlas do just that. Children, families, and anyone who wishes to help can catch and release bumblebees of all kinds across Minnesota. Volunteers note the sex of the bee, what flower it was on, and what species of bumblebee it was. The observations of volunteers provide important information on the diversity of bumblebees in Minnesota. At the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis, bees are important pollinators.  Minnesota is home to a diverse range of bumblebees - over 22 of North America’s 59 total species. Different species of bumblebees have different lengths of tongues, which affects which species of wildflower they are able to access, and in turn, pollinate. Wildflowers need bumblebees as much as bumblebees need wildflowers!  At a place like Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, where wildflowers are crucial elements to the ecosystem,  a research program like bee surveys is a helpful tool in helping our pollinator neighbors thrive. The Tale of Betty the BumblebeeBetty the Bumblebee’s hive was getting smaller and smaller, as more and more bees were dying off. The meadow in which Betty and her family foraged had fewer wildflowers than the year before, with human folk occasionally entering and changing the landscape. Betty had once seen a large man removing her favorite snack - clover- and replacing it with useless grass. As the days went by, more and more of Betty’s hive got sick, and more and more wildflowers died out. Betty knew that the more they ate, the more wildflowers would grow, but less and less of her bee family could forage, as they passed away or got too weak. Betty watched as her family died, and as wildflowers from her meadow seemed to be replaced by short grass, sidewalks,  or ripped out of the ground by people she learned were gardeners. One day, bees seemed to be returning way less than usual. Betty was terrified that her few remaining bee brothers and sisters had been injured or were dead! She went about her day as best as she could, hoping against hope for some sign of her family. At last, late at night, her small hive began to trickle in. Some of them had marks on them, and all of them had wild tales to tell of humans trapping them in cups, and then miraculously letting them go! A few weeks had passed, when Betty began to notice new humans entering her meadow, planting seeds, entire flowers, and best of all, replacing some of the useless lawn with Betty’s beloved clover. Slowly but surely, the hive got better and grew in size, as they were able to forage on wildflowers once more. Betty wasn’t sure what had happened, or why the humans had begun planting flowers, but she had an inkling that it was connected to the mysterious disappearances of her bee friends weeks before. Regardless, Betty was most of all happy to be healthy, surrounded by friends, and in an abundant and beautiful meadow. What Betty didn’t know, is that the mysterious disappearance of her friends was actually a bee survey, which affected the land management of her meadow, and helped her hive thrive! Many species of bumblebees are in need of conservation. Bumblebees help us with growing beautiful gardens and meadows, cultivating crops that we rely on, and preserving diverse wildflower species. We need them to live, but right now more than ever they need us. What are you willing to do to help our pollinator friends?

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